This week the Total BWF World Championships 2018 take place in Nanjing, China. So let`s have a look at each discipline and predict, who will be allowed to lift the trophy on Sunday.
Momota and Lee Chong Wei have been the most convincing on road to these World Championsships. Especially Momota seems stronger than ever and is my early pick for Olympic gold in Tokyo 2020. But here I somehow feel, that Chen Long will strike back. He has struggled to win tournaments all year, but he still has all the tools needed.
Favourite: Kento Momota
My Pick: Chen Long
Dark Horse: Kidambi Srikanth
Defending Champion: Viktor Axelsen
Well, the obvious answer would be the Badminton minions from Indonesia. And seriously, how could I pick another pair? For one and a half years now they are winning pretty much every tournament they play. But they lost on the biggest occasion last year and will be eager to make up for it. Zhang Nan can of course challenge them, but his partner is too weak and that would be exploited. The best chances for an upset probably have Kamura and Sonoda. The Japanese pair is in brillant form and will wait in the Quarterfinals.
Favourite: Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo / Marcus Fernaldi Gideon
My Pick: Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo / Marcus Fernaldi Gideon
Dark Horse: Hiroyuki Endo / Yuta Watanabe + Goh V Shem / Tan Wee Kiong
Defending Champion: Liu Cheng / Zhang Nan
The women`s Singles competition is just as clear as the men`s doubles. Anyone else but Tai Tzu Ying would be a huge surprise. The brillant girl from Chinese Taipeh has lost just one match all year and seems to have an extra gear, she can use whenever it`s getting close. But behind the front girl the competition is very interesting with lots of players on par. Two Chinese girls emerging, two from Japan, Carolina Marin, Ratchanok Inthanon and Pusarla Sindhu…they are all capable of big performances.
Favourite: Tai Tzu Ying
My Pick: Tai Tzu Ying
Dark Horse: Ratchanok Inthanon + Carolina Marin
Defending Champion: Nozomi Okuhara
The Danish top pair Rytter-Juhl / Peddersen is absent unfortunately, so there is a good chance for a Japanese pair will lift the trophy, since they have three top contenders. I wouldn`t rule out a Chinese title defence on home soil, though.
Favourite: Yuki Fukushima /Sayaka Hirota
My Pick: Misaki Matsumoto / Ayaka Takahashi
Dark Horse: Apriyani Rahayu / Greysia Polii
Defending Champion: Yifan Jia / Qingchen Chen
Unfortunately the defending champions from Indonesia won`t compete to retain their title. This gives hope to quite a few other mixed doubles pairs. World no. 1 Zheng Siwei / Huang Yaqiong of China is certainly among the favourites. But I doubt they will make it. They are very consistently good attacking game, but they lack something special. So they can be rattled by creativity, which is what we saw at the All England Championships. Watanabe and Higashino have been doing fine since then, but I hope they can deliver another spectacular performance. Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying have been looking really good lately as well (Goh Liu Ying actually always looks good) and I believe they might take advantage of the absence of Natsir/Ahmad. Would love to see them win after so many runner-up plates.
Favourite: Zheng Siwei / Huang Yaqiong
My Pick: Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying
Dark Horse: Yuta Watanabe / Arisa Higashino
Defending Champion: Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir