With less than a month to go for the season’s biggest badminton tournament-the BWF World Championships, Essentially Sports takes you back to one of the most thrilling finals. The 2009 Men’s Doubles title match. The Korean pairing of Lee Yong Dae and and Jung Jae Sung against the Chinese favourites, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng. It was a mouth watering clash, one which every badminton lover wanted to happen. And the stakes were high.
Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng had last won the event in Madrid in 2006 and badly wanted to regain the title. Yong Dae/Jae Sung had fallen short too many times at the big events, settling for bronze and silver every time, including the 2007 Championships. It was time they showed the world they deserved to be World Champions.
So on the final day of the 2009 Championships, the stage was set for the “best men’s doubles match in recent history”. Lin Dan had already pocketed a third straight title and so had Lu Lan. Zhang Yahweng/Zhao Tingting had given China the women’s double too. With the Chinese contingent firmly behind Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng, they started off on a well, taking a 13-7 lead at one point in the game. The Koreans threw everything at them and the Chinese pair responded in kind. The match was living up to its billing. There were unbelievably long rallies, both pairs seeming to not know fatigue. Yong Dae and Jae Sung fought back to 18-20. It proved too late though and the Chinese won the first game 21-18.
The Chinese defense seemed unbreachable, even to the lightning quick Lee Yong Dae. But the World Championships were in Hyderabad, India and Lee Yong Dae was a crowd favourite. Egged on by the spectators, the Koreans came back harder in the second game. The Chinese were still looking to defend and tire out their opponents. This time though, Yong Dae and Jae Sung were too good and they quickly obtained a four point lead. The second game too had long rallies with each smash coming quicker and each block placed better. Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng though, couldn’t bridge the gap and the Koreans took the game 21-16.
The final was getting better and better. As the third game began, everyone was on edge. It did pan out neck to neck as expected. Trading points and the lead, the world class doubles players took the game to 20-all. What followed was incredible. Nerves, instinct, adrenaline and aggression took over. The match never seemed to win and for the neutral, it was unfair that one pair had to lose. Watch how the match ended for yourself in this video. Mind you, this ain’t for the weak hearted.
With talent at the highest level getting better each day, we can expect similar matches at this years BWF World Championships. Brace yourselves!