Men’s singles semifinals
Lin Dan (China) vs. Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)
- Words can’t describe the magnitude of this monumental matchup between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei. These aren’t just two of the best players in badminton today, but these are two of the best players EVER. With “Super Dan” having beaten Lee in the past two gold medal finals, the pressure is on Lee to “get the monkey off his back” and finally beat Lin in the Olympic tournament. Lin Dan struggled in his quarterfinal matchup vs. the young but talented Srikanth Kidambi from India, while Lee Chong Wei cruised past his opponent, Chou Tien Chen from Chinese Taipei. This will be Lee’s last Olympic games and he will be motivated as ever to dethrone his rival, Lin Dan. Lin will be motivated to stay perched on his throne of Olympic champion and cement his legacy as the best singles player of all-time. Below are some highlights of the two at their best..
Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) vs. Chen Long (China)
- Having mentioned the greatness of Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan, the two players in the other semifinal matchups are not slouches either. Chen Long is actually ranked second in the world, one spot ahead of Lin Dan. The 22 year-old Axelsen is 4th in the world and has the skill set and athleticism to beat all three players ranked above him. In this matchup, Chen Long is favored but the Dane could certainly give him a run for his money. For being so young, Axelsen has the composure and savviness of a seasoned veteran. Both of these semifinals are spectacles to behold.
Women’s singles bronze medal match
Li Xuerui (China) vs. Nozomi Okuhara (Japan)
- The reigning gold medal winner was knocked out from the tournament by the world’s #1 ranked player, Carolina Marin, in a semifinal match on Thursday morning. In that match, Li injured her knee to add injury to insult and there are questions as to whether she should even play in tomorrow’s match, risking further doing damage. But if she does, she will take on 6th ranked Okuhara who was ousted from the competition by India’s Sindhu Pusarla, who has been in phenomenal form. Both players are fierce competitors and will do everything they can to bring home hardware, even if it’s not the color they had ultimately wanted.
Women’s singles gold medal match
Carolina Marin (Spain) vs. Sindhu Pusarla (India)
- This is a gold medal matchup in which both players are playing at the top of their games coming into it. Marin and Sindhu have looked very sharp in all of their matches and while a few of the individual game scorelines have been close for Sindhu, she has found a way to make the crucial play and matchpoints when needed. Sindhu’s hard smashes against Marin’s excellent technique and net play will be a great matchup to watch as both vie for Olympic supremacy.
Men’s doubles gold medal match
Goh/Tan (Malayisa) vs. Fu/Zhang (China)
- The men’s doubles gold medal match consists of two very strong duos who have both played extremely tough matches in reaching this stage. Goh/Tan, the 12th ranked team in the world, knocked off the world’s top tandem from Korea, Lee/Yoo, in a long and draining quarterfinal bout. They then squared off against Chai Biao and Hong Wei from China in the semis, and played three more long and grueling matches there. Fu/Zhang played a three-match quarterfinal set and beat Ellis/Langridge from Great Britain in straight sets 2-0. Even though Fu/Zhang are ranked eight spots higher than Goh/Tan in the world rankings, this matchup is even, which is why the fatigue factor could be an issue for the Malaysians; not just physically, but mentally. However, with the country searching for its first gold medal ever, Goh/Tan will certainly leave it all on the court.