AUSTRALIAN OPEN QF – Sydney’s love for both sides now

How do both sides end up being loved by the crowd? You’d have to be Eom Hye Won, Arisa Higashino, Ko Sung Hyun and Yuta Watanabe today. By Aaron Wong, […]

How do both sides end up being loved by the crowd? You’d have to be Eom Hye Won, Arisa Higashino, Ko Sung Hyun and Yuta Watanabe today.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

The Japanese and Korean pairs drew warm, full bodied applause at the conclusion as well as an audience encore the moment they were led off court.

This scoreline mainly contained only forced errors in the first and last games. In the second, the youngsters gave away some points when at a loss against their more experienced opponents’ change of plans.

Eom often employs superb spatial awareness while guarding the net, both around her and beyond into the opponents’ front half court. She knows when to backhand smash or push shuttles in the one-third court.

Eom Hye Won’s opponents never came forward when she was left in the rear court, even for greater than five shots. Her partner Ko Sung Hyun (pictured) only ever took over when she signalled him to. She produced an unflashy forehand that could be a smash, or a half smash, or two kinds of drops from the same motion. Her errors were few, although it did occur on match point.

Ko’s drop-shot variation was special enough to win points out right and looked almost identical to his rare half smash.

Arisa Higashino (pictured left) matched Eom’s net reactions with great foot speed and equally unattackable half pushes.

Watanabe delighted the crowd who never saw his cross court backhand executed from low coming and neither did the Koreans on a couple of occasions.

It was one win each for the Korean and Japanese men. On Wednesday, Ko won their men’s doubles and Watanabe avenged himself in mixed doubles,  21-19, 14-21, 21-19. Each still has at least one more match to look forward to in this tournament.

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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 @ badzine.net