Have the Olympians Lost Their Magic on the Mystical Island of Bali?
Indonesia Masters 2021 isn’t one of the highest-level tournaments. With a total prize of USD600,000, this tournament falls under the category of a Super 750 event. In the badminton international tournament, the highest category is the Super 1000. Even so, the competition at the Indonesian Masters 2021 is very tight. None of the gold medalists from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics seemed to be able to repeat their success at the Indonesia Masters 2021.
Chinese gold medalist Chen Yu Fei in the women’s singles and mixed doubles pair Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping don’t take part in the tournament in their respective categories since the beginning. But in the other three categories -- men’s singles, men’s doubles, and women’s doubles -- the Olympic gold medallists were part of the event. Unfortunately, all of them can’t even get through to the semifinals.
At the men’s singles, Viktor Axelsen’s fire in 2021 seems to have faded in Bali. He lost at the round of 16 to Indian player H.S. Prannoy in a rubber game 21-14, 19-21, 16-21. This was Axelsen’s first loss in his 6 meetings with Prannoy. However, Prannoy got defeated by his compatriot Srikanth Kidambi at the quarterfinal, in a straight-set 21-7, 21-18. At the semifinal, Srikanth will meet Anders Antonsen who’s the third seed from Denmark. The other semifinal match will have top seed Kento Momota from Japan against Chou Tien Chen, the fourth seed from Chinese Taipei.
Also in the quarterfinals, two pairs of Olympic champions, men’s doubles Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin from Chinese Taipei and women’s doubles Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu, had to accept defeat. Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin, the third seed, lost against the Olympics bronze medallists Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik from Malaysia. This is Lee/Wang’s first loss against the Malaysian pair in the history of their meetings. Chia/Soh’s victory in the quarterfinals will lead them to meet Japan’s Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi who’s actually unseeded. The other ticket to the final round will be competed between Indonesia’s only players in the semifinals Kevin Sanjaya/Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi from Malaysia.
Another surprising Olympic gold medalist defeat is, Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu, the second seed, who lost against Thailand’s pair Puttita Supajirakul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai in a tough rubber set 21-18, 13-21, 19-21. This is the first time the Thai duo won after previously losing 3 times to Polii/Rahayu.
In the semifinal, Puttita Supajirakul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai will go against the fourth seed Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida from Japan. In the other semifinal, 2 Korean pairs will fight for a ticket to the final round: the first seed Kim So-Yeong/Kong Hee-Yong against Jeong Na-Eun/Kim Hye-Jeong.