With Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir winning the first badminton gold medal in Rio, Day 8 of the competition brings forth women’s semifinal play as well as Denmark battling Japan in the Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match. The Women’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match and the Men’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match are on the docket as well. Here are the matchups:
Women’s Doubles Bronze Medal Match
Jung/Shin (Korea) vs Tang/Yu (China)
- Jung/Shin lost to the top ranked Japanese duo Matsutomo/Takahashi in the semifinals, 21-16 and 21-15 in both games. The 5th ranked team had even higher aspirations entering the tournament but ran into a Japanese tandem that is almost impossible to beat when they are on their game. On the other side of the court, Yuanting Tang and Yang Yu lost to Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl in a nailbiting three game set. Perhaps the fatigue factor will be on the side of the Koreans in their quest for the bronze medal.
Men’s Doubles Bronze Match
Chai Biao/Hong Wei (China) vs. Ellis/Langridge (Great Britain)
- Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge certainly had a longer-than-expected run in the tournament in the eyes of most people. It came to an end at the hands of Haifeng Fu and Nan Zhang, the fourth-ranked men’s doubles team in the world, so there really is no shame in that. The Chinese pairing lost to Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong 2-1 in a palpitating best of three set. The odds favor the Chinese duo but Ellis and Langridge should not be counted out to finish in third.
Women’s Singles Semifinals
Carolina Marin (Spain) vs. Li Xuerui (China)
- Reigning gold medal winner Li Xuerui will look to prevent Carolina Marin from stealing her throne in a match that should be very close and very intense. In a matchup of #1 vs #3 in the world, and a matchup up of high-energy vs. sublime skill and technique, this semifinal could easily go down to the wire in a three-game set.
Nozomi Okuhara (Japan) vs. Sindhu Pusarla (India)
- The 6th ranked player in the world, Okuhara, stormed back against compatriot Akane Yamaguchi in her quarterfinal matchup, showing the world her unique skillset and court awareness. Sindhu, on the other hand, surprisingly controlled the majority of the match against the second ranked player in the world, Yihan Wang. Eliminating Yihan Wang is a tremendous feat for the up-and-coming shuttler from India, but this next match will be an even bigger test with the stakes even higher.
Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match
Matsutomo/Takahashi vs. Pedersen/Rytter Juhl (Denmark)
- The journey to the gold medal game was a wild and exciting one for the Danish duo as they played two matches that went to three-games both times. Impressively finding a way to come away with victories both times, this will be their biggest test by far. Pedersen and Rytter Juhl seem to have fantastic comraderie and cohesion, which is a plus, but the Japanese duo has the same, if not more. The women from Denmark have played mentally draining matches and have one additional game under their belts. Could the fraction of extra rest make the difference? The answer will be found tomorrow morning.