China’s athletes have the potential to win both titles in the women’s sector plus XD as well. However, nothing is certain except that this tournament promises outstanding matches between players with sublime skills. This really is a meeting of all the talents so jump on the emotional rollercoaster and enjoy the ride!
Women’s Singles – Beware Marin Incoming!
The million dollar question is how Carolina Marin is feeling? Have her injuries and recovery diluted her game. If she is 100% then everyone should fear her return because she will be hungry for the fight. Her aggression and knack of scoring sequences of points can be overwhelming. In the opposite side of the draw to CHEN YuFei and TAI Tzu Ying she will be determined to do everything she can to meet one of them in the final.
Akane Yamaguchi is looking to retain her title although in her first match she will likely face Gregoria Tunjung who has beaten her twice in a row recently in Malaysia. She is enduring a bit of a slump in form and has a very tough draw considering she is seeded 1. Having said that, she is the current All England Champion and I expect that her extraordinary court coverage, grit and resilience will get her through most matches successfully.
CHEN YuFei is seeded 4 but who can stop her advancing to the Gold? She is an expert at frustrating her opponents and forcing errors since she excels at reducing their opportunities to score. She combines this with an ability to accelerate her own scoring at key times in the match. She is seeded to meet Pornpawee in R16 and I think this could be a tricky encounter if Mew stays aggressive and is able to impose her own tempo on play. If YuFei prevails then a QF against Ratchanok Intanon is on the cards. May will typically be provoked by CYF into risky shots but her death or glory approach under pressure could backfire. If Ratchanok can hold her nerve and triumph, then we could be looking at the 32nd edition of the #MayTAI.
If TAI Tzu Ying is allowed to play her way then she could upgrade her World Championships Silver from Huelva. Millions of fans will be hoping that this is the year her brilliance earns Gold. She has proven before that she can use patience to defeat CHEN YuFei but as usual she is going to have to eradicate errors and loss of focus. AN Se Young is still a little prone to fatigue based injury after a succession of tough matches but she is also ambitious for the big titles.
Women’s Singles promises stellar clashes beginning from R64. Although China’s Chen YuFei is hot favourite, her compatriots HE Bingjiao and WANG Zhiyi could both travel deep into the competition.
The battle hardened pair of CHEN Qing Chen and JIA Yi Fan should seize their opportunity to defend their title and win the Gold again. This sector feels quite open as it’s in a transition phase with some players on the cusp of retirement whilst others need to step up a level with an eye on the future. The main threat to their quest for a hat-trick of Golds will come from the Japanese and Korean pairs. LEE/SHIN (Silver 2021) could derail them at the SF stage whilst a possible final against Hirota/Fukushima (3, yes three Silvers) or KIM/KONG looms. FukuHiro have shown the strength of their partnership throughout Hirota’s injury crisis and this competition on home soil could be a great chance to put past Tokyo disappointments behind them. My possible dark horses to overachieve would be the Malaysian pair of Pearly TAN and Thinaah Muralitheran. They’ve just won at the Commonwealth Games, are continuing to improve, and will be arriving on court full of confidence.
The magnificent partnership of HUANG Yaqiong & ZHENG Siwei belongs at the top of the podium. They arrive in Japan in red-hot form and should be looking to complete their hat-trick of World Championship titles. One of the pairs standing in their way are compatriots and Olympic winners HUANG Dongping and WANG Yilyu. Owing to the seeding only one of these teams can get to the final. The defending champions from Thailand Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai could find themselves in a semifinal with Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino. It’s difficult to foresee a final that doesn’t include two pairs from these four however I think Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue could disrupt Yuta and Arisa’s campaign. The French couple are on an determined trajectory towards the Paris Olympics so will expect to be still scrapping for points on finals weekend.
China’s players could win all of these titles but it would also be true to say that Japan has the personnel to equal that and they have home advantage. The World Championships 2022 is overflowing with awesome players in every sector – it’s going to be a fantastic tournament.
If you enjoyed this then take a look at Part 1 of my preview which looks at the men’s sector https://womensbadminton.co.uk/2022/08/18/badminton-world-championships-preview-part-1-the-men/
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