AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2014 Day 1 – Japan’s rich in men’s singles nowadays

Riichi Takeshita continues his success in Oceania by advancing to the main round in an abbreviated first day at the Star Australian Open Superseries. By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live […]

Riichi Takeshita continues his success in Oceania by advancing to the main round in an abbreviated first day at the Star .

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Qualification day, at the Australian Open’s debut as a Superseries event, lasted five hours shorter than in the tournament’s Grand Prix Gold days.  Whereas Day 1 used to complete at past 9pm, this time it barely went past 3:30pm because there was no need to use Court #5, with only three disciplines taking the stage, not to mention the respite from the Grand Prix division’s taxing men’s singles round of 64.

India’s N. Siki Reddy puzzled as well as drew praise from her Australian junior opponents Alice Wu / Daniel Guda for the effectiveness of her left-handed forehand short serve.

In men’s singles qualifications, Malaysia’s Mohd Arif Abdul Latif (pictured right), although suffering from flu, managed to overcome 2004/2005 champion Andrew Smith of England, 21-17, 22-20.

Asked about his goals for this tournament, the Malaysian talked instead about a medium term goal on his mind: “Being off the national team now, my style of playing is changing because I am working with a new coach and the changes are making a difference. My aim is to qualify for next year’s World Championships.”

Where the former match lacked rhythm, Japan’s Riichi Takeshita (pictured top) on the adjacent court impressed with his all round athleticism, consistency, and arm strength, somewhat reminiscent of Poland’s Przemyslaw Wacha in terms of the solid sound of the shots coming off his racquet, yet with all the hallmarks of the modern Japanese style, which is swiftness to read as well as retrieve opponents’ shots. For most of the match, Takeshita’s court coverage remained within the doubles back line until he forced Indonesia’s Wisnu Yuli Prasetyo to surrender 21-11, 21-6.

The 2013 New Zealand Open champion, Takeshita now goes on to face another player who won a title the last time he found himself this far south, Tahiti International Challenge winner Brice Leverdez of France.

Click here for complete Tuesday results

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @