Oh Wow! Maybe Japan should mix and match their doubles players around more!!


Image source: BWF Fansite

Just watched 2 sensational Uber Cup semifinals badminton matches yesterday and I'm still feeling the excitement now!!

It's played between Japan (JPN) and Korea (KOR), and both are Women's Doubles (WD) matches! I didn't know how women's doubles matches can get so exciting but it just did!

Well, the Japanese team are facing problems with injuries. All of their regular pairings have injuries. Yuki Fukushima's regular partner, Sayaka Hirota has serious injuries to her knee (ACL), Mayu Matsumoto and Nami Matsuyama's partners Wakana Nagahara and Chiharu Shida are also injured, while Misaki Matsutomo's partner, Ayaka Takahashi have retired.

So, I've to really compliment the Japanese head coach Park Joo-bong and the coach in charge of WD, Kei Nakashima, for really making the best pairings!

Image Source: gettyimages

The first match is between Japanese pairing of Yuki Fukushima and Mayu Matsumoto and Korean pairing Shin Seung-chan and Lee So-hee.

Scratch pairings (Fukushima and Matsumoto) will always have problem with confusions because they are not familiar enough with each other's movements and coverage. Usually they'll go for the same shuttle or not at all for the shots placed in between them.

Fukushima and Matsumoto does face the same problems too. They on a few occasions went for the same ball and also did got move out of positions by the Koreans in their regular pairings.

The Japanese side also have problem with Matsumoto's inconsistency. She tend to switch on and off during matches. On her good days, she is aggressive, sharp and venomous; on her bad days, she is Santa Clause and just giving away points and putting easy shots into the net.

Game 1, unfortunately, we've a Matsumoto on bad days, so Fukushima stepped up, did a lot of coverings and played a few clever winners. But those are not enough to cover Matsumoto's mistakes and the game went to the Koreans, 21-19.

Game 2 was when Matsumoto start to switch on. She is sharper and more consistence. She played a few brilliance winners and her strong net play and smashes started to work wonders. She gained confidence and stepped up her defense.

Fukushima, on the other hand starts to do more of just covering the court for her partner when she is in front doing all the attacks. And with her quick footwork, she did managed to save a few clear winners.

Japanese took the 2nd game, 21-16.

Game 3 is Matsumoto on her peak (IMO) though some silly mistakes did creeped in. However, it's also clear that Matsumoto gained her confidence back, she is taking more risky shots and going for the lines. She also managed to play winners with her disguised drop shots.

Game 3 is just Matsumoto's stage and Fukushima, doing her part to cover for her. The Koreans did their best too, with their defenses and aggressive attacks, forcing errors from Matsumoto. But oh well, the game still goes to the Japanese.

For the next game between Japanese Misaki Matsutomo and Nami Matsuyama and Olympic bronze medallists Korean Kong Hee-yong and Kim So-yeong.

This match is exciting. A match between agility and intelligence versus power. It's not that the Koreans aren't intelligent players, it's just that the Japanese are more "crafty" and creative.

The Japanese doesn't have a heavy hitter as compared to Kong Hee-yong who produced excellent smashes, so they made it up with their agility and creativity.

Instead of killing with smashes, they mainly win with clever placements, cross-court and dropshots, after moving the opponent out of position.

Seriously, the 2 Matsu(s) worked so well together, I almost forgot that they're a scratch pairing! The Koreans have great power and defenses the Japanese still managed to crack them.

Well, Japanese scratch pair surprises me. Matsuyama seems to do better with Matsutomo than her regular partner, Chiharu, while I think Fukushima should stay with Hirota who is more consistant.

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