JAPAN OPEN 2016 R16 – Veterans and newcomers shine

Some veterans from the over-30 club banked on their experience to qualify for the quarter finals of the Japan Open while some new young talented players will be facing them […]

Some veterans from the over-30 club banked on their experience to qualify for the quarter finals of the while some new young talented players will be facing them after some unexpected wins.

By Miyuki Komiya, Badzine Correspondent live in Tokyo.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

In spite of a heavy rain, there was a huge queue to enter Tokyo Metropolitan Stadium on Thursday morning because of Japan’s Autumnal Equinox Day – a national holiday here. All schools and many companies were closed, explaining the long waiting line in front of the opening gate of the venue.

First on court was Hong Kong’s top player Ng Ka Long, who was facing China’s promising Shi Yuqi (pictured top). The latter couldn’t cope with Ng’s pace in the first game, added with the Hong Kong players’s great deception shots. But the Chinese prodigy managed to read his opponent’s game much better in the second part of the match and ended up as a winner 10-21, 21-12, 21-15.

“This is my first , so I was a bit nervous.  Anyway, I’m happy to win. Our seniors are really great, they can cope with any change of strategy from their opponent. I hope I will be able to do that as well in a near future,” Shi added.

Another upset was created by Thailand’s rising star Khosit Phetpradab (pictured right). The Thai, ranked 78th in the world, showed incredible speed in his movements on court, which helped him beat Taiwan veteran and world #7 Chou Tien Chen.  The 5th seed was overwhelmed by Khosit’s speed and committed many unforced errors, leading to a three-game defeat to the 22 year-old Chou.

“He had much more stamina than me and moved fast. I made many mistakes and didn’t play well. I just need more practice,” said Chou after the game. On the other hand, veterans Marc Zwiebler secured a career first quarter-final spot in the Japan Open with a good win over Hsu Jen Hao of Taiwan, while Jan O Jorgensen beat younger Korean Lee Dong Keun comfortably.

Local favourites out of men’s doubles

4th seeds Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa were sent packing as well. During the Olympics, Hayakawa had injured his back and didn’t play well. But now, since it was complete recovered, they didn’t expect to lose against their  company teammates Hiroyuki Saeki and Ryota Taohata (photo) who had not beaten them once in practice. But the latter decided to play an offensive style – attacking all the time. Their positive attitude boosted their confidence and they were able to break the spell and won in straight games 21-13, 25-23.

“Our strong point was our offensive style. I focused on playing in our quick and attacking pace,” hinted Taohata,.

Meanwhile his partner praised the atmosphere: “There was a lot of spectators in the hall so we tried to enjoy ourselves instead of being nervous. At the end of the second game, it was very difficult to score as they didn’t to give that last point easily. I guess that’s how you recognize top players,” added Saeki.

Wednesday’s giant-killers Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Emil Seidel couldn’t continue their great run as they were stopped by Chinese Taipei Lee Jhe Huel and Lee Yang. Yet the Germans, who had paired up 1 year ago, said they had learned a lot from their first Superseries in Japan.

“We lost today – the 1st game was quite bad but the 2nd game was close until the end,” said Lamsfuss.  “We will face the same opponents in Korea’s 1st round, so we are confident we can play well against them next week.”

Japan’s good run continue in women’s singles

Japanese women’s singles already reserved 2 seats for the semi-final stage. Bronze medallist Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi (photo) will play a remake of last year’s final here, but this time, in the quarter-final stage. Both of them won easily on Thursday and will fight for a semi-final spot.  Okuhara will be confident to beat her younger compatriot, who is yet to win after 6 meetings in international competition. Yet, last time, Yamaguchi took a game from Okuhara in Rio, for the first time.

Another semi-final seat is assured for Japan as Ayumi Mine will take on Aya Ohori. Mine is not an national member, but she beat current national player Kaori Imabeppu on Thursday in straight games. The other quarter-finals will feature Sun Yu and Sayaka Takahashi and Ratchanok Intanon taking on China’s He Bingjiao.

Click here for complete Thursday results


Miyuki Komiya

About Miyuki Komiya

Miyuki Komiya is Badzine's correspondent in Japan. She joined the Badzine team in 2008 to provide coverage of the Japanese badminton scene. She has played badminton for more than 30 years and has been a witness to the modern history of Japanese badminton, both watching players become stronger on court and hearing the players comment on their increasing success over the years. Contact her at: miyuki @ badzine.net