Two Japanese doubles teams reach semifinals at World Badminton Championships

Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda booked a spot in the men’s doubles semifinals at the World Badminton Championships on Friday, while compatriots Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara reached the women’s doubles final four.

Kamura and Sonoda, the fifth seeds, defeated the top-seeded Indonesian duo of Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sukamuljo 21-19, 21-18 to clinch a world championships medal for the second straight year.

Matsumoto and Nagahara, the 11th seeds, knocked off the seventh seeds, Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand, 21-12, 22-20.

In the semifinals, the Japanese women will face Indonesian fifth seeds, Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu, who defeated the No. 1 pair, Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan of China, in straight games.

“It still hasn’t sunk in that we’ve won a medal, but it’s a weight off my shoulders,” Nagahara said.

A mammoth 117-shot rally lit up the Kamura-Sonoda clash with Gideon and Sukamuljo, leaving spectators in giggles and the players panting.

In the seemingly never-ending exchange, the Indonesians were down a game 21-19 and came off worse at the end of the rally, during which the duos repeatedly waited before attacking, only to be repelled.

Spectators laughed as the pairs hit the shuttlecock back and forth, before Kamura finally forced Gideon to hit wide. The Badminton World Federation counted 117 shots before Japan won the point to go up 7-4 in the second game.