As the 2015 World Championship at Jakarta draws nearer, China’s legendary dominance in women’s doubles easily comes to mind. Since the competition began in 1983, China lost the women’s doubles title just once. It is an amazing achievement regardless of the fact that the Chinese dominate the world in the shuttle sport. Having always won the title in the doubles category except in 1995, China’s four women pairs would like to assert themselves one more time.
In the 1995 World Championships held at Lausanne, Switzerland, Korea won the women’s doubles title by beating Indonesia. The Korean pair of Gil Young Ah/Jang Hye Ock defeated Indonesia’s Finarsih and Lili in the final while Chinese pair of Qin Yuyan and Tang Yangshu had to rest content with bronze medal. Since the world championship began in 1983, this was the first time that China had lost in this category. In 1996, China regained the old glory and won women’s doubles title. They are yet to forfeit the women’s doubles title. In the 2015 world championship beginning in Jakarta on August 10, 2015, the Chinese women’s doubles teams have the odds in their favor as they vie for another world title. There are four Chinese women’s doubles teams in fray for the 2015 edition. All four of them are World Super-series winners. Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli are 2011 and 2013 winners while Zhao Yunlei/Tian Qing are current world champions. The other two pairs of Luo Ying/Luo Yu and Ma Jin/Tang Yuanting have shown tremendous form in the current season.
Of the eight women players forming the Chinese Doubles teams, Yu Yang needs special mention. Yu is on the verge of making badminton history as she chases her fourth women’s doubles title. She has the 2011 and 2013 titles with Wang Xiaoli and 2010 title with Du Jing. If she wins again, her name will be entered as one of the contemporary legends in badminton. In this year’s world championships, Yu/Wang have been seeded third and they will likely face England’s Heather Olver/Lauren Smith in the second round; no.10 seeds Chang Ye Na/Jung Kyung Eun of Korea in the third and compatriots Tian/Zhao in the quarter-finals. Defending champions Tian/Zhao will run into Netherlands’ Selena Piek/Eefje Muskens in the third round and if Tian/Zhao reach the quarter-final stage, they may play top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi of Japan or Indonesians Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari in the semifinals.
The top seeded Japanese, winners of Yonex Sunrise India Open, are expected to reach the quarter-finals and their toughest opposition could be in the third round with Bulgaria’s Stefani Stoeva/Gabriela Stoeva. However, getting past Polii/Maheswari in the quarter-finals could be a huge challenge for them. With the crowd behind them, Polii/Maheswari may stop the Japanese top seeds. The Indonesian duo have been in exceptional form of late; winning the Yonex Open at Chinese Taipei and finishing runner-up in the BCA Indonesia Open.
Theoretically therefore, Matsutomo/Takahashi and Polii/Maheswari have the best chances of preventing the Chinese from capturing another women’s doubles crown in 2015. Another formidable pair from Denmark, Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who are seeded fourth can also stop Ma Jin/Tang Yuanting but first the Danes will have to beat either Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan of Korea or Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth/Rizki Amelia Pradipta of Indonesia in the third round. The Chinese pairs of no.2 seeds Luo Ying/Luo Yu and No.6 seeds Ma Jin/Tang Yuanting are in the same half and they are expected to clash in the semifinals. Luo/Luo will have difficult matches with Malaysia’s Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei in the third round and India’s Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa or Japan’s Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa in the quarter-finals.
The standards at the world championship are far too high but the members of Chinese doubles teams are unfazed because they have the inherent ability of beating the best in the rest of the world. Chinese have fortified themselves by entering four strong teams and with that, enhanced their chances of remaining in forefront in women’s doubles.