As we bid goodbye to 2019 and welcome 2020, we take a final look back at some of the most thrilling matches of the year gone by.
A magnificent men’s singles final went the way of Chou Tien Chen after he outlasted Anders Antonsen in 91 minutes, at the end of which both collapsed to the floor. (Antonsen was later wheeled off to the airport, with his legs cramping.) It was an epic title-winning performance from Chou, who survived his fourth straight three-game win, each of which lasted over an hour and fifteen minutes. His triumph in the final – 21-18 24-26 21-15 – crowned the biggest moment of his career.
Matsumoto/Nagahara vs Fukushima/Hirota – World Championships
Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota very nearly had the crown that had eluded them last year. A year ago, Fukushima and Hirota could feel the touch of gold before compatriots Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara snatched it from them from two match points down. This year the dramatic climax was reversed, with Fukushima and Hirota clawing their way back from five match points down and having championship point of their own. It wasn’t to be; Fukushima and Hirota were once again left to contemplate the bitterness of defeat as Matsumoto and Nagahara once again denied their compatriots: 21-11 20-22 23-21.
With a 10-4 record, Tai Tzu Ying held the aces against Pusarla V Sindhu going into the quarterfinal at the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019 – and through the first game, the world No.1 simply bamboozled the Indian. Pusarla dug in for the long haul, stubbornly retrieving everything Tai threw her way. It was touch-and-go, until Tai faltered at the very end (12-21 23-21 21-19). It was the biggest test Pusarla would face in her historic march to the gold.
Jordan/Oktavianti vs Wang YL/Huang DP – Denmark Open
A fine come-from-behind effort by Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti for their first major title as a pair. With Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping taking 12 points in a row in the third from 7-14 down, it looked like the Indonesian challenge was dead and buried, but Jordan and Oktavianti staged a great fightback to haul past the Chinese 21-18 18-21 21-19.
Chia/Soh vs Alfian/Ardianto – All England
There were several great men’s doubles matches during the year; the All England semifinal between Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik and Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto was particularly memorable for the sheer crackling pace and intensity of the match from start to finish. The Malaysians stepped it up against the Indonesians, coming through 12-21 22-20 21-19 to make their first major final.