The defending champion can not be knocked off his throne! Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn is bringing home another gold in men’s singles after defeating Kodai Naraoka of Japan. Vitidsarn took both sets, 21-11 and 21-9.
The number one seed owes his victory to his discipline and endurance. With confidence on the court, the Thai was able to stay in attack mode. He placed the birdie where he wanted and forced his opponent to play at his pace. Changing up the tempo and depth of his shots had Naraoka fighting for every point. Unfortunately, the Japanese could not play his own game.
Vitidsarn’s ability to manipulate his opponent earned him the Eye Level Cup.
Redemption was on the mind of China’s Chang Wang and Zijian Di. The duo was successful and beat Korea’s Tae Yang Shin and Chan Wang in the men’s doubles finals.
Chang Wang and Zijian Di
After taking silver in 2017, the pair promised to capture the gold this year. Ahead of the finals, Di and Wang said “We want to make up for our regret.”
It was a tight match with rare space for error or a turnaround. The Chinese duo’s persistence to win showed in the last few minutes of play.
In the last set, Wang and Di pinned down their opponents leaving them little room to persevere. However, Shin and Wang found a slight opening and fought to comeback. Anticipation filled the crowd as the Koreans crept up from 17-20 to tie the game, 20-20. But China quickly put a stop to a third match with two smashes into the court.
Di and Wang kept their promise in a thrilling matchup.
Xuanxuan Liu and Yuting Xia
Xuanxuan Liu and Yuting Xia of China got their revenge over Malaysia’s Pearly Koong Le Tan and Ee Wei Toh. The duo claimed gold, finishing 21-16 and 21-16.
This year, Liu and Xia lost to Tan and Toh on a international stage during the Yonex Dutch Junior women’s doubles finals. The painful defeat never left their minds.
During the match, the two were nearly perfect. They zeroed in on their targets, made powerful smashes and precise returns. Any little mistake would send the birdie out of bounds and let the Eye Level Cup slip out of their hands. The Malaysians fight wasn’t strong enough to overcome the determination of the Chinese.
Liu and Xia’s hunger to claim victory over Tan and Toh was satisfied.
Malaysia’s Jin Wei Goh takes gold in the women’s singles finals! Goh defeated Denmark’s Line Christophersesn (15), 21-13 and 21-11.
Jin Wei Goh
Knowing that Christophersen is a very aggressive player, Goh’s focus was to “control the shuttle.” The 18 year old said she “prepared very hard” by watching videos of her opponent. She continued to say—-“I didn’t want an upset. I knew [Christophersen] upset Thailand and China.”
Throughout the match, Goh remained patient during the rallies to avoid throwing away points by attacking. Ultimately, this led to her success.
This is the second BWF World Juniors title for the Youth Olympic medalist. The last time she won was in 2015.
Moving into seniors, Goh says she will work even harder to meet the challenging level in order to continue to represent her country.
Indonesia takes gold and silver for the mixed doubles finals. Leo Rally Carnando and Indah Cahya Sari Jamil beat their teammates Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti. The final score 21-15 and 21-9.
Leo Rally Carnando and Indah Cahya Sari Jamil
Carnando and Jamil’s chemistry is undeniable. The pair have only been playing together for two months but are able to read each other and play to their strengths. The power of Carnando in the back, makes it difficult for their opponent to have control when returning. Jamil’s quickness and ability to find a pocket has the opposition stretching to make contact with the racquet and put it over the tape.
Together, they were superior over the seeded pair in an upset that lasted 31 minutes. Carnando and Jamil say they didn’t put pressure on themeselves, they just played.
The duo are excited about their victory and are happy that their friends won the silver medal. They look forward to celebrating Indonesia’s podium finishes!
This is the first BWF World Juniors title for the pair.
Li Shifeng of China was unable to secure a spot in the finals. The third seed lost 21-11, 19-21 and 21-17 to Japanese, Kodai Naraoka in a thrilling yet exhausting 85 minutes of play.
Both players were neck and neck throughout the sets but Naraoka’s tenacious spirit and ability to outthink the Chinese led to his success.
Shifeng said he was “unable to control the tempo” of the game. His passion to beat his opponent made him play cautious to avoid game changing mistakes but Naraoka’s preparation outweighed his desire to win.
Shifeng’s disappointing loss was one of three semi-finals upsets for China.
The women’s singles semi-finals match between Jin Wei Goh and Zhiyi Wang resembled the finals match in the Youth Olympic Games. Wang, the number one seed was unable to come out on top and fell to the third seed. The Malaysian beat the Chinese 21-9 and 21-13.
In the first set, Goh says her opponent got tense and she was able to capitalize on her mistakes which gave room for a strong finish.
Wang commented on her inability to fight back:
“I didn’t have enough energy to beat my opponent.”
The olympic medalist will take on Line Christophersen of Denmark. Going into the finals, Goh says she will get a lot of rest to recuperate her muscles and study tape of the European Junior champion.
Kunlavut Vitidsarn is one game away from holding the Eye Level Cup. In a thrilling match, the Thai was able to defeat the fourth seed, Lakshya Sen from India 20-18, 21-16 and 21-13.
This is not the first time the two skillful players went head to head. At the 2018 Badminton Asia Junior Championships, Vitidsarn loss to Sen 19-21 and 18-21.
Vitidsarn’s coach says advancing to the finals shows that “Kunlavut’s conditioning is strong” which gave him the ability to withstand his opponent’s speed and plays. In the last two sets, he was able to control the game by setting the tempo. This gave him the ability to switch up the pace, exhaust his opponent while keeping him on the defence.
Going into the men’s singles finals, Vittidsarn says he will focus on maintaing a rally and avoid making small mistakes.
The number one seed will face Japanese, Kodai Naraoka.
Line Christophersen (13) from Denmark is going to the finals! The Dane upset the number four seed, Yaxin Wei (4) from China. The final score was 21-18 and 22-21.
Last year, Christophersen did not pass the fourth round. This year, she trained a lot leading up to the World Juniors to improve her performance.
How do you feel about going to the finals?
“I am very happy and didn’t think I would go so long.”
As the underdog, the 18 year old says she did not feel nervous before the match as she knew all eyes would be focused on Wei. Not carrying any pressure allowed her to play freely and continue to stay in the game.
Christophersen is the first female European player to advance to the World Junior finals.
What does it mean to you represent Denmark this far into the competition?
“It means a lot to me to know that I was able to play with and show that I can beat one of the best.”
Christophershen will face youth olympic medalist, Jin Wei Goh in a historic women’s singles finals.
Wendy Zhang’s run towards the women’s singles finals comes to an end. Zhang loss to to the third seed, Jin Wei Goh. The final score 11-21 and 10-21.
Heading into the game, the 16 year old says she was nervous to face the skillful Youth Olympic gold medalist. Prior to the taking the court, the national team’s Head Coach, Mike Butler told Zhang not to feel “intimated by the world class player”.
Butler also commented on Zhang’s performance throughout the championships:
“Extremely proud of her accomplishments to get this far. We’re excited for the next opportunities.”
As the last Canadian player left in the competition, the BC native said she did not feel any pressure to represent her home country as she was “very supported” by her coaches, teammates and parents.
In women’s singles, she is the silver medalist for the Pan Nam Badminton Juniors and the Canadian Junior International champion. As the youngest player on Team Canada, Zhang has three more World Junior appearances.