Apr 27. Bucking the trend, top two seeds reach final
Shocks after shocks, surprise outcomes had been the order of proceedings as matters progressed towards the later rounds at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest; as the penultimate day closed, Saturday 27th April, there was an unusual occurrence.
In the women’s doubles event, the top two seeded pairs booked places in the final!
Top seeds, Hina Hayata and Mima Ito beat Japanese colleagues Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the no.3 seeds (11-9, 10-12, 14-16, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7), to be followed by Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, the no.2 seed, who ended the hopes of Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, the no.4 seeds in the all Chinese clash (11-3, 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5).
Once again the elegant defensive skills in the guise of Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato delighted; technically very correct but once Hina Hayata and Mima Ito found a rhythm to their play the die was cast. Just as four years ago in Suzhou, the bronze medal was the lot of the backspin artistes. In the Chinese city, Li Jie of the Netherlands and Poland’s Li Qian had experienced a penultimate round defeat at the hands of China’s Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia.
Familiarity; that fact was even more evident in the contest between Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu in opposition to Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, few rallies, serve and receive the key. There was little to choose, Sung Yingsha and Wang Manyu, trailing 3-4 in the deciding game, keeping their nerve and playing error from the surrender just one more point.
Thus for the first time since 1987 in New Delhi when Korea Republic’s Hyun Junghwa and Yang Youngja beat China’s Dai Lili and Li Huifen; the women’s doubles final at a World Championships will not be all Chinese.
Furthermore, it is the first time since Nagoya in 1971 that China and Japan have met in a women’s doubles World Championships final; on that occasion China’s Lin Huqing and Zhen Minzhi prevailed. In the final they beat Mieko Hirano and Reiko Sakamoto.
In Budapest can Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu emulate the achievement of their illustrious predecessors? Hina Hayata and Mima Ito may well have other ideas!