Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan captured their sixth title of the year and consolidated their position on top of the rankings with a comprehensive defeat of Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2019 yesterday.
World champions Matsumoto and Nagahara were at the receiving end of a 21-14 21-10 hammering that might take them some time to recover from.
Right from the first point, when Nagahara got a line review request wrong, nothing went right for the Japanese. Chen and Jia were simply too good on every count – moving well, defending solidly, and attacking with power. Even the famed defensive abilities of the Japanese couldn’t stand up to the challenge on the day, with Chen and Jia’s blows hurting them every time.
“We both pairs have the same attacking style. So when we meet, it is about who plays better on the day,” said Jia. “They won the World Championships in 2018 and 2019, so we were not scared to lose to them. Therefore I didn’t feel any pressure.”
“I was under pressure until we were 15-6,” said Chen, laughing, and contradicting her partner. “My anxiety took 30 per cent of my energy!”
“Even though she said that, I couldn’t feel she was feeling any pressure. She still played well. Before the match, she said she wanted the trophy, not the (runners-up) plate,” offered Jia.
The Japanese admitted they were taken aback by the attacking prowess of their opponents.
“From the beginning our opponents took control of the game. They hit powerful shots which we fail to defend well. We intended to play our own style, but we just couldn’t do it,” said Nagahara.
“We couldn’t adjust to the wind in the second game. It’s a pity that we did not manage to win the World Tour Finals. We played every tough match but we could not win the final. In terms of points, we are frustrated to lose to them in straight games. But looking back at the past few days, beating the Korean pair (Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong) gave us great confidence. It has been quite a while since we played the Chinese pair. Every time we play them, we find a lot to learn from them, such as how to hit back their powerful shots and how to make use of the drift. We will have to work on these things from now on.”
Her partner reflected on the lessons from their campaign: “Overall, being able to play in the final was very significant for us. This match forces us to reflect on our strategies and mental toughness, which are critical for us to play in the tournaments next year.
“When playing the World Championships, our opponents were our compatriots, so we know their style. This time against the Chinese, their power is overwhelming. We have a lot to learn from them. We were overawed by the atmosphere in the stadium. This is another thing we need to work on.”