JAPAN OPEN 2011 – Surprises in qualifying

China Masters runners-up Yoo Yeon Seong / Jang Ye Na were among the early, surprise casualties on qualifying day at the Yonex Japan Open.  They were shown the exit in […]

China Masters runners-up Yoo Yeon Seong / Jang Ye Na were among the early, surprise casualties on qualifying day at the Yonex .  They were shown the exit in two games by China’s Hong Wei / Pan Pan.  The new partnership had been dangerously close to upsetting former World Champions Laybourn/Rytter Juhl in Changzhou and today booked their berth in the main draw in Tokyo, where they will take on Blair/White in the first round.

Korea did send two other pairs into the main draw, including Chinese Taipei Open champions Ko Sung Hyun / Eom Hye Won, who go up against third-seeded Thais Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam.  Ko and Lee Yong Dae, who have now played enough that they are no longer benefitting from notional rankings, had no problem finding their way into the first round.

Elsewhere, the travails of Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro have yet to subside.  Insufficiently boosted by his semi-final finish in Taipei, Sony was eliminated right off the bat by Shuhei Hayasaki.  Both Hayasaki and compatriot Kaori Imabeppu were denied entry to the main draw by Thai visitors, however.  Suppanyu Avihingsanon, fresh off a domestic title won at the expense of Boonsak Ponsana (see here), made his way past the local shuttler and will face fellow qualifier Takuma Ueda on Wednesday, with the winner likely to square off against China Masters champion Chen Long in the second round.  Vietnam Open runner-up Imabeppu, meanwhile, was stopped by Youth Olympic gold medallist Sapsiree Taerattanachai.

Apart from Ueda, Japan does have some promising talent among the Tuesday winners, however.  16-year-old Nozomi Okuhara is through to the main draw, and so too is Mitani Minatsu.  Minatsu has been itching to shine this year.  She won the Osaka International in the spring, shortly before her victory over Wang Xin at the Asian Championships.  At a bi-nation challenge recently, she got the better of Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun and now she is set to trouble Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the Japan Open first round.

The only fallout from the string of injuries at last week’s China Masters has been the pullout of women’s doubles top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang.  The only other withdrawal that has been announced so far is that of Spain’s Carolina Marin from the women’s singles.

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net