Mixed Doubles at Sudirman Cup – A Form Guide

A common sight at top-tier events: Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong celebrating their win.

Yuta Watanabe doesn’t beat about the bush.

Unlike many of his contemporaries who prefer an understated way of talking about their campaign, Watanabe is more upfront. Asked about the team’s chances in winning their first Sudirman Cup, Watanabe stated matter-of-factly: “Japan are the top seed and the possibility of us winning the title is very high. We are well-prepared. We are eager to win. I have many strong compatriots, so I will be relaxed.”

It was an unusually frank prognosis, as sharp and precise as his whippy left-handed shots from the back.

Yatanabe’s confidence would stem from his performance this season in both his disciplines – in the mixed with Arisa Higashino, and the men’s doubles, with Hiroyuki Endo.

But while Japan has another solid men’s doubles pair in Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, the mixed doubles will likely be the preserve of Watanabe and Higashino.

Victorious at the Malaysia Masters, the Japanese duo were runners-up at the All England and semifinalists at the Indonesia Masters.

Mixed doubles at the Sudirman Cup has often been intriguing. Nobody knows this better than Huang Yaqiong and Lu Kai at the last Sudirman Cup; the Chinese pair had enjoyed a blazing run and were favourites to win against Korea’s Choi Solgyu/Chae Yujung, but the occasion proved too hard to handle for Lu and Huang, who crumbled in a nervous series of errors.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa might play two categories.

Two years hence, that match is vivid in Huang’s mind. “I learnt a lot from that match,” she says. “A team event is different from an individual event. I learnt how to handle myself in those situations.” Their loss necessitated a change in combination not long after, with Huang partnering Zheng Siwei. A first round loss in Korea was an aberration in an otherwise straight line of seven straight title wins; this season saw them adding three titles to their collection before they fell in the semifinals of the Singapore Open to Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai.

“This is a wake-up call for us before the Sudirman Cup – it shows we are not unbeatable,” said Huang.

Dechapol Puavaranukroh (left) and Sapsiree Taerattanachai celebrate their Singapore Open win.

Neither India nor Malaysia, China’s group-mates in 1D, are expected to run Zheng/Huang close. Even China’s second option, Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping, winners of the India Open and the Badminton Asia Championships, are unlikely to be threatened.

With Satwiksairaj Rankireddy returning from injury, India could have more bite in their attack. But his partner Ashwini Ponnappa revealed that either she or Sikki Reddy – with Pranaav Chopra in the mixed – would have to do double duty.

In Group 1A, Watanabe/Higashino will be opposite Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai –  winners of the Singapore Open – and Russia’s Rodion Alimov/Alina Davletova (No.32) or Evgenij Dremin/Evegenia Dimova (No.35).

Puavaranukroh/Taerattanachai have been among the most consistent pairs over the last year, making a number of finals and semifinals, but their first major triumph came only last month in Singapore. If Thailand are to go far in the tournament, much will depend on this combination.

Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti.

Indonesia, in Group 1B with Denmark and England, will have to decide which of their pairs to field. Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuella Widjaja (No.6) have been quite consistent this season, with semifinals in India, Singapore and New Zealand, while Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti (No.7) were runners-up in India and Singapore, and notably, nearly beat Zheng/Huang in the semifinals of the All England.

Denmark’s might be a new combination – head coach Kenneth Jonassen acknowledged the team was in a ‘transitional’ phase – making it uncertain if their top-ranked pair Niclas Nohr/Sara Thygesen would be fielded, especially as Thygesen will have women’s doubles duties. It is likely that Mathias Christiansen will be fielded with a younger player – Jonassen said such a combination was in keeping Tokyo 2020 in mind.

England have established pairs in Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock – who haven’t been in the best of form lately – and Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith, semifinalists in Barcelona and quarterfinalists in Switzerland and Malaysia.

Group 1C is likely to see some hard-fought mixed doubles matches. Hong Kong have a top pair in Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet; if Tse has recovered from injury, they will pose a problem to any of their opponents.

Chinese Taipei have arrived without Hsu Ya Ching and Cheng Chi Ya; the anticipated mixed doubles combination could be Lee Yang with Yang Ching Tun, who were semifinalists at the India Open.

As for defending champions Korea, the frontline pair would be No.12 Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yujung, winners in Barcelona and Germany. Chae was one of the heroes of Korea’s Sudirman Cup triumph, and it will be interesting to see the role she can play in Korea’s defence of their title.

Sudirman Cup News

Sudirman Cup: The Most Thrilling Battles

Sudirman Cup: The Most Thrilling Battles

5 June 2019
Stars Who Shone; Those Who Didn’t

Stars Who Shone; Those Who Didn’t

4 June 2019
Key Moments: Chen vs. Yamaguchi – Sudirman Cup ‘19

Key Moments: Chen vs. Yamaguchi – Sudirman Cup ‘19

30 May 2019
Slovakia Daring to Dream – Sudirman Cup ’19

Slovakia Daring to Dream – Sudirman Cup ’19

28 May 2019
Key Moments: Shi vs. Momota – Sudirman Cup ‘19

Key Moments: Shi vs. Momota – Sudirman Cup ‘19

28 May 2019
As It Happened CHN vs JPN – Sudirman Cup ‘19

As It Happened CHN vs JPN – Sudirman Cup ‘19

27 May 2019
Celebrations and Concessions – Sudirman Cup ’19

Celebrations and Concessions – Sudirman Cup ’19

26 May 2019
China’s Young Heroes Reclaim Title – Sudirman Cup ’19

China’s Young Heroes Reclaim Title – Sudirman Cup ’19

26 May 2019
Park: We’re Going All Out! – Sudirman Cup ’19

Park: We’re Going All Out! – Sudirman Cup ’19

25 May 2019
Big Guns Boom for China – Sudirman Cup ’19

Big Guns Boom for China – Sudirman Cup ’19

25 May 2019
Brilliant Canada Top Group 2 – Sudirman Cup ‘19

Brilliant Canada Top Group 2 – Sudirman Cup ‘19

25 May 2019
Indonesia Hobble Past Chinese Taipei – Sudirman Cup ’19

Indonesia Hobble Past Chinese Taipei – Sudirman Cup ’19

24 May 2019
Japan Stay on Track – Sudirman Cup ’19

Japan Stay on Track – Sudirman Cup ’19

24 May 2019
Jonassen: Young Generation ‘Hungry’ – Sudirman Cup ’19

Jonassen: Young Generation ‘Hungry’ – Sudirman Cup ’19

24 May 2019
Another Teen Star in the Making – Sudirman Cup ’19

Another Teen Star in the Making – Sudirman Cup ’19

24 May 2019
China Coast into Semis – Sudirman Cup ’19

China Coast into Semis – Sudirman Cup ’19

23 May 2019
Defending Champs Trip Over Thailand – Sudirman Cup ’19

Defending Champs Trip Over Thailand – Sudirman Cup ’19

23 May 2019
Netherlands Fight Back From Brink – Sudirman Cup ‘19

Netherlands Fight Back From Brink – Sudirman Cup ‘19

23 May 2019
Rankireddy Impressive in Comeback from Fracture

Rankireddy Impressive in Comeback from Fracture

23 May 2019
Final Eight Draw – Sudirman Cup ’19

Final Eight Draw – Sudirman Cup ’19

23 May 2019
Danes Deliver! – Sudirman Cup ’19

Danes Deliver! – Sudirman Cup ’19

22 May 2019
Korea Beat Chinese Taipei, Top Group – Sudirman Cup ’19

Korea Beat Chinese Taipei, Top Group – Sudirman Cup ’19

22 May 2019
No Stopping An Se Young! – Sudirman Cup ’19

No Stopping An Se Young! – Sudirman Cup ’19

22 May 2019
Israeli Youngster Embracing the Big Stage – Sudirman Cup ’19

Israeli Youngster Embracing the Big Stage – Sudirman Cup ’19

22 May 2019
Thailand Thwart Russia – Sudirman Cup ’19

Thailand Thwart Russia – Sudirman Cup ’19

21 May 2019
Pathway to Success for Kazakhstan – Sudirman Cup ’19

Pathway to Success for Kazakhstan – Sudirman Cup ’19

21 May 2019
Malaysia Edge Past India – Sudirman Cup ’19

Malaysia Edge Past India – Sudirman Cup ’19

21 May 2019
Continental Conquest! – Sudirman Cup ’19

Continental Conquest! – Sudirman Cup ’19

20 May 2019
Korea into Quarters – Sudirman Cup ’19

Korea into Quarters – Sudirman Cup ’19

20 May 2019
China Club Stint Powers Malkov – Sudirman Cup ’19

China Club Stint Powers Malkov – Sudirman Cup ’19

20 May 2019
Wake-Up Call for Japan – Sudirman Cup ’19

Wake-Up Call for Japan – Sudirman Cup ’19

20 May 2019
‘Greatest moment ever’ says Greenland – Sudirman Cup ’19

‘Greatest moment ever’ says Greenland – Sudirman Cup ’19

20 May 2019
China Brush Off Scare – Sudirman Cup ’19

China Brush Off Scare – Sudirman Cup ’19

19 May 2019
Iris Wang Unable to Resist Badminton’s Lure – Sudirman Cup ’19

Iris Wang Unable to Resist Badminton’s Lure – Sudirman Cup ’19

19 May 2019
Thrilling Win for Canada – Sudirman Cup ’19

Thrilling Win for Canada – Sudirman Cup ’19

19 May 2019
Learning Curve for Nepal – Sudirman Cup ’19

Learning Curve for Nepal – Sudirman Cup ’19

19 May 2019
Speaking Their Minds – Sudirman Cup ’19

Speaking Their Minds – Sudirman Cup ’19

18 May 2019
Women’s Singles at Sudirman Cup – A Form Guide

Women’s Singles at Sudirman Cup – A Form Guide

18 May 2019
Denmark in Transition Phase – Sudirman Cup ’19

Denmark in Transition Phase – Sudirman Cup ’19

18 May 2019
Indonesia Hold the Aces in Group 1B

Indonesia Hold the Aces in Group 1B

17 May 2019
Final Preparations on Sudirman Cup Eve

Final Preparations on Sudirman Cup Eve

16 May 2019
India-Malaysia Duel Likely to Decide Group 1D

India-Malaysia Duel Likely to Decide Group 1D

15 May 2019
A Twist in the Tale – Sudirman Cup in the 2010s

A Twist in the Tale – Sudirman Cup in the 2010s

15 May 2019
Men’s Singles at Sudirman Cup – A Form Guide

Men’s Singles at Sudirman Cup – A Form Guide

14 May 2019
Spotlight On Canada-Germany Clash

Spotlight On Canada-Germany Clash

11 May 2019
Women’s Doubles at Sudirman Cup – A Form Guide

Women’s Doubles at Sudirman Cup – A Form Guide

10 May 2019
Tight Contest Expected between Netherlands, France

Tight Contest Expected between Netherlands, France

9 May 2019
Sung’s Pullout a Setback for Korea in Group 1C

Sung’s Pullout a Setback for Korea in Group 1C

8 May 2019
The Clash of Powerhouses – Sudirman Cup in the 90s

The Clash of Powerhouses – Sudirman Cup in the 90s

7 May 2019
Glory on Home Soil – Sudirman Cup ’89

Glory on Home Soil – Sudirman Cup ’89

3 May 2019
Men’s Doubles at Sudirman Cup – A Form Guide

Men’s Doubles at Sudirman Cup – A Form Guide

2 May 2019
Spotlight on Japan, China – Sudirman Cup ’19

Spotlight on Japan, China – Sudirman Cup ’19

30 April 2019
Chinese Taipei Can Go Far – Sudirman Cup ’19

Chinese Taipei Can Go Far – Sudirman Cup ’19

27 April 2019
Everybody Wants to Beat Japan, Says Okuhara

Everybody Wants to Beat Japan, Says Okuhara

26 April 2019
Title Triumph Not Far Away, Says Nehwal

Title Triumph Not Far Away, Says Nehwal

25 April 2019
Loh Looks Forward to Team Challenge

Loh Looks Forward to Team Challenge

24 April 2019
‘Team Spirit and Self-Belief are Important’: Wong Choong Hann

‘Team Spirit and Self-Belief are Important’: Wong Choong Hann

23 April 2019
China’s Trump Cards – Zheng & Huang

China’s Trump Cards – Zheng & Huang

22 April 2019
Intanon Optimistic About Thailand’s Chances

Intanon Optimistic About Thailand’s Chances

21 April 2019
Kidambi Keen to Lead India to Team Glory

Kidambi Keen to Lead India to Team Glory

20 April 2019
Month-Long Countdown Begins for Sudirman Cup

Month-Long Countdown Begins for Sudirman Cup

19 April 2019
‘Looking to Convert Pressure into Motivation’: Zhang Jun

‘Looking to Convert Pressure into Motivation’: Zhang Jun

19 April 2019
Setback for Korea’s Sudirman Cup Preparations

Setback for Korea’s Sudirman Cup Preparations

25 March 2019
Early Test for Hosts China: Sudirman Cup Draw

Early Test for Hosts China: Sudirman Cup Draw

19 March 2019
Japan Get Top Billing – Sudirman Cup

Japan Get Top Billing – Sudirman Cup

11 March 2019
Hosts Ready as Sudirman Cup Countdown Begins

Hosts Ready as Sudirman Cup Countdown Begins

20 February 2019
Sudirman Cup Attracts 32 Entries

Sudirman Cup Attracts 32 Entries

18 February 2019
GoDaddy Extends Major Events Partnership with BWF

GoDaddy Extends Major Events Partnership with BWF

11 February 2019
Sudirman Cup the Final Frontier for Park

Sudirman Cup the Final Frontier for Park

25 January 2019