Sony Dwi Kuncoro (@3.0) vs Kodai Naraoka (@1.33)
11-09-2019

Our Prediction:

Kodai Naraoka will win

Sony Dwi Kuncoro – Kodai Naraoka Match Prediction | 11-09-2019 09:40

Do you think it could be that the womens singles went to rally point but simultaneously got longer matches, with games going from 11 to 21 rather than from 15 to 21? I think it is logical to assume this would affect singles more than doubles but do you have a theory as to why this would affect mens singles in particular, and not womens singles? Thats a good point and you are by no means the only one who has suggested this as a factor.

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Main competition results

So maybe mens singles is just like that, and veterans never get fooled or even outrun by peppy upstarts. Well, that may be partly true but there was a reason we brought it up with Lin Dan back in 2013. Not only was that right after Ratchanok Intanon won the womens singles World Championship title at age 18 but it was also nearly ten years after Lin Dan had won his second major title as a teenager. Lin won the 2002 Korea Open title at age 18 and then the 2003 Denmark Open title a few weeks before turning 20.

The table below shows how the Asian and World Junior Champions have fared in the Superseries. Clearly, almost all of the girls have gone on to senior success. Even most of the few girls singles champions with no Superseries titles have at least won at the Grand Prix Gold level. The boys, on the other hand, are more hit and miss. 7 of those pre-2015 junior champions have yet to win a Grand Prix title.

This is certainly a possibility. 2007 had the lowest average age for Superseries singles winners at 24.5 years. Since 2009, the average has fluctuated between 26 and 28. True, players like Fung Permadi (pictured right) and Poul-Erik Hoyer played to the age Lee Chong Wei is now (see the table below) but once again, we have to look at the incredible dominance by Lee and Lin Dan, neither of whom have a retirement yet in sight.

We cant ignore what else has happened since the 2014 poll. Axelsen has become World Champion, one player from our poll has multiple Superseries titles, two others have been in Superseries finals, and two won their first major titles at age 20. As to why teenagers arent winning mens singles titles or when the next such occasion will arise, we can continue to speculate. But meanwhile, a new generation is taking over maybe slowly, but surely, and not always early.

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But once we go down a rung to the Grand Prix Gold level, mens singles is still showing 0 teen winners while mens doubles has Lee Yong Dae and Tan Boon Heong, plus Zheng Siwei, Huang Kaixiang (pictured right), Li Junhui, Liu Yuchen, and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, while in mixed doubles, 3 of those 5 have titled before age 20, along with Zhang Nan, Wang Yilyu, Lee Chun Hei, and just this year He Jiting, Seo Seung Jae, and Dechapol Puavaranukroh. In fact, overall, more major mixed titles have gone to teenaged boys than girls, including the only Olympic gold ever won by a teenager.

The two oldest singles players on the tour suggest yet another facet of the modern game. Players like Lee Hyun Il (37) and Hu Yun (36) are part of a whole legion of players some recently retired and some still going who kept playing well into their thirties and even if they themselves only combined for about a dozen Superseries titles made it difficult for youngsters to title early.

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On the other hand, if we keep going further back into the past, we do find more. Its a little difficult to track down every historical instance but 10 years before Chen and Hidayat, the Hong Kong and China Opens were won by teenagers Wu Wenkai and Ardy Wiranata respectively. Earlier in the 80s, Icuk Sugiarto and Zhao Jianhua had titled at the biggest events before age 20, too. Its not an annual thing, but then again, a 14-year gap seems excessive.