Sudirman Cup: The Most Thrilling Battles

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO

An overview of some of the most tightly-fought matches of the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019:

Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik (MAS) vs Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen (CHN)

China’s opening match of the Sudirman Cup suggested a tough ride for the hosts, with a Malaysian surprise underway. Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik nearly tripped Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, but the world champions stood their ground under pressure, and came away winners after a rollicking 60-minute affair: 18-21 21-14 24-22.

Pornpawee Chochuwong memorably came from behind to upset Akane Yamaguchi.

Pornpawee Chochuwong (THA) vs Akane Yamaguchi (JPN)

Chochuwong turned in a gutsy performance to gain the lone point for Thailand against Japan in their Group 1A faceoff. Yamaguchi had three match points but Chochuwong refused to give in, and claimed five points in a row for a memorable win: 9-21 21-14 22-20.

Marcus Ellis (right) & Chris Langridge’s exciting win paved the way for an English upset.

Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge (ENG) vs Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (DEN)

England were in dire straits at 1-2 against Denmark in Group 1B. Ellis, having won his opening mixed doubles, returned with Chris Langridge for the men’s doubles against Astrup/Rasmussen. A tense match unfolded, with Ellis and Langridge saving the day for England, emerging triumphant after a marathon 98 minutes: 16-21 21-19 21-19.

Rankireddy and Ponnappa gave India the lead against Malaysia.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa (IND) vs Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai (MAS)

Rankireddy was returning from a prolonged injury layoff and the Indians were playing their first competitive match this year. Still, it turned out to be a thriller, with the Indians staving off two match points before converting their own second opportunity: 16-21 21-17 24-22.

Mark Caljouw (left) downed Leverdez in a thriller.

Mark Caljouw (NED) vs Brice Leverdez (FRA)

This Group 2A tie between Netherlands and France would be among the most closely-fought of the tournament. The teams were one-all when Caljouw and Leverdez faced off in a riveting match. The third game was close all the way, and although Leverdez had his neck in front, Caljouw kept drawing level. Leverdez had five match points, but it was Caljouw who survived after 78 minutes: 21-15 11-21 27-25.

Loh Kean Yew celebrates after a marathon men’s singles win over Nguyen Tien Minh.

Loh Kean Yew (SGP) vs Nguyen Tien Minh (VIE)

Vietnam veteran Nguyen Tien Minh was trying to prevent a playoff loss to Singapore, with Vietnam 0-2 down. Loh led all the way in the third, with Nguyen close behind and eventually catching up to serve match point. The rallies featured Nguyen’s tireless running, with Loh on the point of exhaustion. The Singaporean managed to avert defeat and clinched the tie on the 62nd minute: 16-21 21-18 23-21.

Misha ZIlberman of Israel prevailed 28-26 in the third game against Joel Koh.

Misha Zilberman (ISR) vs Jia Wei Joel Koh (SGP)

Zilberman gave Israel the lone point in the 4-1 defeat by Singapore in their Group 2B tie. The Israeli saved two match points, was himself denied five, and finally converted on his sixth: 16-21 21-13 28-26.

Sawan Serasinghe (right) and Eric Vuong of Australia.

Sawan Serasinghe/Eric Vuong (AUS) vs Oliver Leydon-Davis/Abhinav Manota (NZL)

Australia had clinched the tie after the first four matches and were looking to sew it up 4-1 over their neighbours. Serasinghe and Vuong led 19-17 in the third but Leydon-Davis/Manota caught up and had a match point, before the Australians recovered to take the last three points: 13-21 21-15 22-20.