JAPAN OPEN 2011 R32 – Mixed Up Mixed Doubles!

Mixed doubles is living up to its name!  The 30th Yonex Japan Open is proving to be an interesting mix up with China, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, England, Germany, India, Indonesia, […]

Mixed doubles is living up to its name!  The 30th Yonex is proving to be an interesting mix up with China, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, England, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Russia and Thailand making up the Round 2 roster.

By Emzi Regala, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Former mixed doubles World Champions Thomas Laybourn/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Denmark, pictured below) failed twice to break deuce and as result were shown early exit at the hands of fellow Europeans Michael Fuchs / Birgit Michels (Germany, pictured). The Canadian Open champs Fuchs/Birgit displayed strength towards the home stretch as they nailed a clean straight-game victory with identical scores 22-20, 22-20.

The Danes were leading most of the way in the second game until the hard-fighting German pair overtook them at 18-17.  Rytter Juhl’s last two winner serves provided a flicker of hope for a third game.  Fuchs/Birgit however had something different in mind and effectively managed the pressure to emerge victorious in a tightly contested match against their fellow Europeans.

In another key match, Changzhou semi-finalists Diju Valiyaveetil / Jwala Gutta of India proved too much to handle for the Japanese pair of Shintaro Ikeda / Reiko Shiota.  The first game saw the Japanese pair – who are also fondly called IkeShio by their local Japanese supporters – looking good to snatch one game against the Indian opponents. Statistically speaking, almost everything else equal, two net winners made the difference to make the first game swing in favour of the Indian pair.

Diju/Jwala changed to an attacking strategy in the second and this was too much for IkeShio to handle, bowing out 15-21 in the second game to end another disappointing run for a Super Series medal in their homeland.

We’ve been playing well since the China Masters, where we reached the semis. We’re not looking into any targets yet but want to play well. However, I feel like we’re getting back at our best level” said Diju.

The audience held its breath when Japanese pair Noriyasu Hirata / Miyuki Maeda came dangerously close to upsetting 2011 World Championship runners-up  Chris Adcock / Imogen Bankier (photo) but again the visiting team pacified the locals 21-17, 25-23.

To its disappointment, the crowd won’t be cheering ‘Maeda-chan! Maeda-chan!’ as Miyuki Maeda suffered double-blow elimination, also losing with partner Satoko Suetsuna against unseeded China’s Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin later on in the women’s doubles.  This marks the second week in a row that the world #2 pair has been bested by a duo of young Chinese upstarts in the opening days of a Super Series but it has to hurt more to be humbled at home.

Some of the best news for Japanese fans came from Shoji Sato.  He found success twice on Wednesday, including in the mixed doubles, where he and Shizuka Matsuo offed India Open runners-up Fran Kurniawan / Pia Zebediah Bernadet in two quick games.  But at that point, Shoji has already pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the day when he and men’s doubles partner Naoki Kawamae eliminated 2nd-seeded Danes Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen.

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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.

About Emzi Regala