ALL ENGLAND 2011 SF – Japan breaks two curses in one!

Japan broke a long-standing curse, as no Japanese women’s doubles pair had entered a final of the Yonex All England Badminton Championships in 20-years. Fujii and Kakiiwa will be representing […]

Japan broke a long-standing curse, as no Japanese women’s doubles pair had entered a final of the Yonex Badminton Championships in 20-years. Fujii and Kakiiwa will be representing their country while Eriko Hirose also broke a 33-year old record, as the great Hiroe Yuki in 1978 was the last Japanese to enter a final here in England.

By Tarek Hafi (Live from Bimingham); Photo: Badmintonphoto; Video: Mark Phelan

Japan is becoming accustomed to breaking records in the All England Championships after Kenichi Tago cruised to the final last year.  Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa broke a new record at the  Yonex All England as the event has not seen any Japanese in the women’s doubles final in 20 years, a record they knew nothing about when asked after their match.

Really? I didn’t even know we did such a thing! I really don’t know what to say.  I feel so honoured we achieved something like this,” said Kakiiwa. Before that, the Japanese girl, together with Fujii, needed to play their compatriots and friends, Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito in the semi-final. “It’s indeed difficult to play your compatriots, when there’s so much to earn in the end, but we all thought in the end, it wasn’t about who is going to the final it was more ‘let’s win for our country, to ease everybody’s heart when they are all suffering.’”

On their end, Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang needed to dig deep in their resources to beat Denmark’s new sensation duo Marie Roepke and Line Damkjaer Kruse (see video interview below), who were very close to creating another upset today. The young Danish pair provided a level play matching that of the Chinese players, using their excellent defence to counter attack Wang Xiaoli’s well-known lethal attacks.  This status didn’t scare the mighty Scandinavians, who really troubled their opponents on the TV court. Nevertheless, Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang earned a lot of experience having appeared in many last four spots in the past and they left no chances to the Danish girls in the third game while gaining their first spot together into the Yonex All England final.

A few minutes after, it was Eriko Hirose (pictured), too, entering history, as she defeated Petya Nedelcheva, looking like she is at her best since the competition started, having all in her repertoire to sweep all her opponents.  The lovely Japanese shuttler thus found success in her first All England semi-final and officially enters Japan’s great badminton history, when no Japanese girl haven’t entered the final since 1977 with the legendary Hiroe Yuki.

Petya is a very strong opponent I am so happy I managed to win my match today,” said Hirose afterward. I feel like it’s a reward to all the Japanese people suffering at the moment, which is saddening me deeply and I feel at the same time so honoured to have achieved something like that, I must definitely give my best tomorrow, even if Wang Shixian is the number one seed.”

It will be a first then for the two players, as neither one has competed in the All England final before.


Click on the image to hear Danes' post-match interview

Women’s singles final: Eriko Hirose (JPN) vs Wang Shixian (CHN)

Women’s doubles final: Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) vs Mizuki Fujii / Reika Kakiiwa (JPN)

For all results CLICK HERE

“SEE LIVE ACTION from the YONEX ALL ENGLAND online at” is broadcasting all Super Series tournaments in 2011 and will be broadcasting the “ONE NIGHT WITH STARS” event from March 22nd  2011 with all profits going to SOLIBAD – Badminton without Borders.

If you are coming for the All England Championships, or whenever you visit Birmingham, try Badzine’s partner hotel, the City Nites Apartments. Offering fully-serviced apartments, it is a stylish setting for long or short-term business people and visitors, and a great place to stay during the All England Championships.

CLICK HERE to make a reservation at the City Nites

About Tarek Hafi