5 Best matches from the 2023 Malaysia Open
Malaysia Open 2023 has culminated with some exceptional games witnessed by badminton fans. In men’s singles, world number one Viktor Axelsen won the final against Kodai Naraoka whereas Akane Yamaguchi became victorious in the women’s singles category. She defeated An Se Young of South Korea in three games.
There were a lot of hopes from India’s Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy but the duo were eliminated in the semi-finals. The Indonesian duo of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto were the winners in this category while Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan won the women’s doubles final, and are also world number one right now.
None of the Indian players managed to win a medal in the tournament, however, there were some spectacular displays shown by the Indian shuttlers. Chirag and Satwik reached the semi-finals while HS Prannoy too played well. PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth were eliminated in the opening rounds, as was Lakshya Sen, who crashed out after losing to Prannoy in the Round of 32 only.
Let us take a look at the five best matches from the successful 2023 Malaysia Open:
HS Prannoy vs Lakshya Sen
It is very rare that an Indian derby was seen in the opening round of any international tournament. Fans witnessed two of their favorite players going up against each other in the first round. While HS Prannoy is in the form of his life, Lakshya Sen has been commendable in front of big shuttlers around the world.
In this three-game affair, Prannoy was victorious as he made a terrific comeback after losing the first game by 22-24. The Delhi-born baddie won the next two 21-12 and 21-18 to register a historic victory over his countrymate.
Lakshya is another star Indian player who was totally capable of going far in this tournament but destiny had some other plans. Prannoy after beating Lakshya defeated Dwi Wardoyo in the Round of 16 but was eliminated by Kodai Naraoka in the quarter-finals.
Chirag Shetty/Satwiksairaj Rankireddy vs Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi
If there are any Indian players who can take some positives from this tournament, then it has to be these two players who reached till semi-finals. The duo of Chirag and Satwik are world number five currently and have all the capabilities to be world number one in the coming future.
The pair started off really well in the tournament by defeating Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho from South Korea. They further defeated Bagas Maulana and Muhammad Shohibul Fikri of Indonesia to reach the quarter-finals. But it was the game against the Chinese pair that made it to the list of top five matches.
After losing the first game 17-21, it looked like it was going to be over for the world number five but that’s how the champions played as they made a tremendous comeback by winning the next two games 22-20 and 21-9.
The second game was a hard-fought victory for them. Furthermore, they did not lose confidence in the last one to grab a sensational victory. They lost in the semi-finals against another Chinese pair of Liang and Wang to make an exit.
Kodai Naraoka vs Lee Zii Jia
It was a big victory for the Japanese player Kodai Naraoka as defeating Zii Jia at his home was never easy. Zii Jia is currently ranked second and his first-round exit was a big surprise for the badminton fans. Though he tried his level best till the last moment, Naraoka was always ready for his challenge.
The world number seven lost the first game 13-21 which made it almost clear that he won’t go to the next round. But, the next two games almost surprised everyone when the Japanese shuttler won by 21-17 and 21-19 to finish Jia’s hopes.
His form was so incredible that he went on to reach the finals of the tournament where he lost to the world champion Viktor Axelsen. Kodai Naraoka is surely going to be the next big thing in world badminton.
Akane Yamaguchi vs Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt
Champion of Malaysia Open 2023 Akane Yamaguchi is also a world number one right now. She started her campaign against the Danish shuttler Line Højmark Kjaersfeldt. It was not the beginning that Yamaguchi wanted as she lost the first game 17-21 but the way she won the next two was a sign of sheer brilliance. She defeated the Danish baddie 17-21, 21-13 and 21-15 to move to the next round.
Her competition after this match was so easy that she did not look back even once. She defeated Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the Round of 16, then Mia Blichfeldt in the quarters. Her semi-final encounter was also a straight game where she defeated world number three Tai Tzu Ying. The final against An Se Young was a tight match that went down to three games but the Japanese shuttler handled the pressure really well to win the gold.
Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan vs Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma/Amalia Cahaya Pratiwi
It’s always a treat to watch a badminton game between Chinese and Indonesian shuttlers. One such match was between Qing Chen/Yi Fan and Kusuma and Pratiwi which was a ‘Round of 16’ match which just ended in minutes. World number one Chinese pair were so dynamic that they thrashed the Indonesian pair 21-7, 21-9 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Kusuma and Pratiwi are a known pair ranked nineteenth in the women’s doubles but the way they got defeated was disheartening for the Indonesian fans. The Chinese duo did not stop there as they went on to win the Malaysia Open after defeating Baek Ha Na and Lee Yu Lim of South Korea in the finals.