JAPAN OPEN 2010 – Sho must go on

Sho Sasaki (pictured) beat Taufik Hidayat in the first round of the Yonex Japan Open to continue a day of upsets in Tokyo. By Raphaël Sachetat. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live) Tokyo, […]

Sho Sasaki (pictured) beat Taufik Hidayat in the first round of the Yonex to continue a day of upsets in Tokyo.

By Raphaël Sachetat. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Tokyo, September 22nd 2010< – Ups and downs. Taufik Hidayat (pictured below) is known for playing either really well, or really badly, as he had shown a couple of years ago here in Tokyo, in the final of the event against Lee Chong Wei. This time, against a player he had never met before, he showed some good and bad form in the same match, but that wasn’t good enough to beat the strong fighter Sho Sasaki.

“I usually rely on my smashes, but this time I had taken the option of going more into the rallies,” said a delighted Sasaki in his post match press conference. It was a well-chosen tactic as the Indonesian crumbled in the last points of the match, allowing Sasaki to eke out the18-21, 23-21, 21-19 victory.

“You say it was an unexpected defeat, but you never know whether you can win or lose. There’s always a possibility to lose any matches,” said Taufik. “He didn’t play that well, but I just couldn’t play my game. I couldn’t control the shuttles.”

For Sasaki, it was a blessing to be able to play – and win against the mighty Indonesian. “It’s my first time to play against Taufik. I feel like it’s a dream to just play against him. I had no idea how he really plays as I had seen him play before, but it’s not the same as actually playing against him. I think the key to my victory was the fact that I didn’t use my smashes as I usually do. I was more patient into the rallies in order to attack at the right times.”

All other top seeds went through to the next round.  Lee Chong Wei had an easy path against Gurusaidatt of India (21-5, 21-9), Lin Dan made light work of Saensomboonsuk (21-12, 21-13) while Peter Gade spent little time beating Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong 21-13, 21-16.

The only unexpectedly fast win was the one from Jan O Jorgensen who avenged his loss to Dicky Palyama last week by beating the Dutch 21-17, 21-11. It was a bad day overall for the contingent from the Netherlands as Eric Pang lost to Japan’s Ueda, but that’s half a surprise as the Japanese had won the Russian Open earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun (pictured) showed that her win over Yao Jie in January was not just a home-court fluke as the young Korean again took care of the Dutch veteran in straight games.  Sung will be hoping that her showdown with Indonesia Open runner-up Sayaka Sato will be the opportunity to advance past the second round for the first time since her fairy-tale Korea Open run.

China Masters champion Wang Xin, who is expected to come out as world #1 when the new rankings are posted tomorrow, will get a chance to repeat her win over another Korean adversary.  Last week, it was Sung Ji Hyun who fell victim to Wang just like in the Uber Cup final and on Thursday in Tokyo, it will be Bae Youn Joo, who will attempt to erase the memory of her forfeit loss to Wang in the Malaysia Open final.

All results HERE

If you are to visit Tokyo for the Japan Open, you should stay in our partner hotel, the Chisun Grand Akasaka, a classy and modern hotel just a few minutes away from the venue, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Click HERE to find out more about our partner hotel.

Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.