JAPAN OPEN 2011 SF – Who’s afraid of the World Champs?

“I was looking forward to a sibling match in a Super Series,” said the Beijing Olympics gold medallist Markis Kido, who was up against his younger brother, Bona Septano in […]

“I was looking forward to a sibling match in a Super Series,” said the Beijing Olympics gold medallist Markis Kido, who was up against his younger brother, Bona Septano in this year’s semi-finals.  “I want to win against my brother!” Bona told reporters after winning yesterday’s quarter-final.

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

Men’s doubles presented a world-class semi-final featuring Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong and China’s Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng. The Malaysian duo started off very well, taking an early lead at 11-7 during the interval but lost to world #1 Cai/Fu’s fierce attacking game in the first game 21-17.

At the start of the second game, Cai Yun scratched his knee on a diving return and the game had to be stopped so medical attention could be provided.  Although the game resumed with Cai Yun’s knee still bleeding, the spectators didn’t see any negative effect on his play.   The Malaysians, though, found themselves even at 9-9, and from then onwards it was a see-saw match.   Koo/Tan levelled the match by taking the second game 21-19.

In the final and deciding game, China once again took an early 9-3 lead, but the Malaysians exhibited superb rallies that earned them 11 points. In a very critical game where ‘missing’ is not an option, at 19 apiece, Koo’s last net drive error soon led to the Chinese flag being raised in celebration of another men’s doubles finals appearance for the world #1 Cai/Fu.

“We had more speed and were more tactical. We were confident of winning,” Fu said after the match.

The other men’s doubles semi-final involved a brother vs. brother match.  Indonesia’s top men’s doubles players Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan and Bona Septano / Mohammad Ahsan went up against each other.

“I was looking forward to a Super Series match against my borther,” said Markis, who was very relaxed playing the winning first game 21-15.

In the second game, his brother Bona got the better of him and the younger pair took it 21-16 to arrange a third and deciding game.  It was very even in the third game with both pairs giving their finest performances, but Ahsan and the younger brother Bona found it ending in their favour 21-18.

“We do all our training together, we have played against each other so many times before so I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Kido.  “Today they just did better.  That’s all!”

“I wasn’t thinking of winning or losing, I just wanted to do my best,” added Bona Septano.

Bad dreams …yet again

With just about half a year yet since they formed, the only remaining Chinese pair defeated one of Japan’s Big 3.  Similar to yesterday’s pattern, the Japanese pair Fuji/Kakiiwa found themselves even at 20-20 and lost 2 points to surrender the second game to China 22-20, forging a third and final game.

In the decider, China’s Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin started off well, with an 8-point run to lead 11-4 at the interval.  The Japanese pair had their own run but didn’t have enough fuel for the kick, giving away their chance for a Super Series final, at the hands of the Chinese.

“Today was a very difficult match, we were not really thinking about winning or losing, we just returned the bird one at a time.  We’ll try to do the same tomorrow,” said Bao Yixin after the match.

In the other women’s doubles semi-final, between Chinese Taipei veterans Cheng Wen Hsing / Chien Yu Chin and Hong Kong’s Poon Lok Yan / Tse Ying Suet, the first game saw the Chinese Taipei ladies ahead with a big margin at 10-3 and they went on to comfortably take the first game 21-17.

In the second game, the Hong Kong pair managed to score 7 consecutive points before eventually losing 21-16.

“The bird was very hard to control because of the wind,” explained Cheng afterward.  “The bird flies out even when we put little power behind it.  It was hard to play.  Today, however, the there was not much wind and we were able to execute our plays better.”

“Yes, yesterday’s wind was a problem,” added her partner Chien.

And then there were two…

China’s World Mixed Doubles Champions Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei, leaving Cai/Fu and Wang Yihan the only winners from London represented on Sunday at the Japan Open.

The first game saw the first seeded Chinese win, as expected, 21-19.  In the second game, Chinese Taipei dictated the pace and that got them ahead 15-10.  China then answered with 5 consecutive points to even up at 15-15 and then found themselves with 2 match points advantage at 20-18.  Chinese Taipei however saved 3 match points and eventually earned the second game at 24-22.

At the third game interval, the Chinese were leading 11-8 but at the change of courts, the Chinese Taipei pair took 5 consecutive points to lead, and they never looked back to end the third game at 21-17.

“Our opponents’ speed was faster than usual.  We were not in our best condition but if we had been, we would have won much more easily.  We just started as a pair about 1.5 years ago so I think we still have much to improve on.  Tomorrow, we will do our best not to lose,” Wen Hsing said in the post-game interview.

The other semi-final featured an all European cast.  Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen against Germany’s Michael Fuchs / Birgit Michels.  The Danish pair will once again move on to the finals after winning against the Germans 18-21, 21-7, 21-19.

“We’re very happy!  Six months ago at the Malaysian Open, we won against them by 2 games so I was thinking all along: we will win!  We will be up against a pair who beat us in the Indonesian Open and we are looking forward to some revenge!” said Joachim.

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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