Success in doubles badminton demands more than skill and athleticism. It’s a game that takes two to tango and rewards every player who has stuck with the same partner for a long time. Besides Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan, two players are role models for the synergy and longevity required for women’s doubles success — Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida!
Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida form one of Japan’s youngest and fastest-rising women’s doubles teams. The two players have played together since their junior careers and experienced a lot of success together. Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida were both bronze medalists at the 2015 World Junior Championships and the 2015 Asian Junior Championships. In that same year, the pair bagged their first junior title at the 2015 Yonex Dutch Junior. When they debuted as a senior team, they immediately made their mark by winning the 2017 Smiling Fish International. Since their senior debut, Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida have won more than 17 medals, including nine World Tour titles.
Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida continue to thrill crowds with their performances and team play. Learn more about what makes this young and dynamic team a pair to watch in my latest edition of Player Profile!
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Nami Matsuyama’s Early Life and Junior Badminton Career
Born on June 28, 1998, Nami Matsuyama was born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. She began playing badminton for fun when she was in grade school. Over time, she displayed quick improvement and competed in local inter-school competitions.
When she turned 16, she made her junior debut at the 2014 Osaka International Challenge Badminton Championships. There, she advanced past the round of 32 stages in the girls’ and mixed doubles events.
After the Osaka International Challenge, Nami Matsuyama formed a partnership with Chiharu Shida. The pair played their first junior tournament at the 2014 Korea Junior Open Badminton Championships. In their debut, they won their first title after defeating Kong Hee-Yong and Seong Seung-Yeon in the finals.
Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida also won the 2015 Dutch Junior after a dominant performance over Naoki Yamazawa and Sayaka Hobara in the finals. That year, the pair also won a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships.
Chiharu Shida’s Early Life and Junior Badminton Career
Chiharu Shida was born on April 29, 1997 in Hachirogata, a part of Akita Prefecture. Like Matsuyama, Chiharu Shida picked up badminton as a recreational pursuit. Just like her future partner, she showed promising skills early on.
After competing locally, Shida soon debuted as a junior player in 2014. That year, she won her first titles at the 2014 Korea Junior Open Badminton Championships. Besides winning the girls’ doubles event with Nami Matsuyama, she also bagged a mixed doubles gold medal with Yuta Watanabe.
In 2015, Chiharu Shida and Nami Matsuyama won the 2015 Dutch Junior. Months later, they won bronze at the 2015 World Junior Championships.
Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida’s Senior Debut
After playing together for three years as juniors, Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida debuted as senior players in 2016. The pair had a slow start during their debut year, advancing no further than the round of 16 stages in their first two tournaments.
However, all that changed in 2017 when they won the 2017 Smiling Fish International. In the finals, Matsuyama and Shida defeated their compatriots Chisato Hoshi and Naru Shinoya to win their first senior title.
In 2018, Matsuyama and Shida amassed enough points to qualify for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour. In their first year on the World Tour, they chalked up several runners-up finishes, particularly at the 2018 Singapore Open, 2018 Akita Masters, and 2018 Vietnam Open.
Later that year, Matsuyama and Shida bagged another silver medal finish at the 2018 Indonesia Masters.
2018 to 2019 — Their First World Tour Titles
After the 2018 Indonesia Masters, Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida were on the hunt for their first World Tour title. The chance at their first title came in October 2018.
At the 2018 Chinese Taipei Open, Matsuyama and Shida dominated the women’s doubles event to reach the finals. In the finals, they faced their compatriots Ayane Kurihara and Naru Shinoya. In straight sets, Matsuyama and Shida defeated their opponents to win their first World Tour title!
Their victories didn’t stop there. After several more runner-up finishes, Matsuyama and Shida bagged another World Tour title at the 2019 U.S. Open. From here, they capped off their 2019 campaign with another stellar title victory at the 2019 Gwangju Korea Masters.
2021 to 2023 — More Titles on the World Tour Circuit
Alongside other badminton players, Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida were unable to compete in 2020 because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Luckily, the up-and-coming shuttlers were back in action by mid-2021, and they reignited their title hunt with a bang.
In November 2021, Matsuyama and Shida breezed to the finals of the 2021 Indonesia Masters. There, they defeated the in-form South Korean team of Jeong Na Eun and Kim Hye Jeong to win their first World Tour title in over a year.
Riding on the momentum of their Indonesia Masters victory, they won the 2021 Indonesia Open after defeating hometown favorites Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu.
In 2022, Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida kicked their year off with an impressive title victory at the 2022 All England. Just a month after the All England, the pair won another World Tour crown at the 2022 Thailand Open.
After that, Matsuyama and Shida capped off 2022 on a high note by winning the 2022 Indonesia Open. When 2023 rolled in, the pair kicked their year off in stellar fashion by winning the 2023 India Open.
Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida — Making Waves Since Their Junior Careers
Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida have been impressing fans since their time together as juniors. If there’s one thing their senior accomplishments show, it’s that they’re destined for badminton greatness.
Will they bring their destinies to fruition?
All we can do is watch the games and rankings with anticipation!
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