OSAKA INT’L 2015 – Japan shares titles with China, Korea

While Japan National A team players were playing in the Malaysia Superseries Premier, Japan National B Team players tried to get points as many as possible to improve their world […]

While Japan National A team players were playing in the Malaysia Superseries Premier, Japan National B Team players tried to get points as many as possible to improve their world ranking, but found an uncharacteristically strong visiting contingent at the Osaka , held in the Moriguchi Gymnasium in Osaka from April 1st to 5th.

Story and photos by Miyuki Komiya (live in Osaka)

The first final at the 2015 Osaka International Challenge was mixed doubles, between Kim Duck Young / Eom Hye Won of Korea and China’s Liu Yuchen / Huang Dongping (pictured). It is the first tournament for both pairs to participate. It was very close match, with the Koreans’ patient defense getting better results than China’s attacking.  The Korean pair got their first title. Former World Championship runner-up Eom said, “ It’s our first tournament and we’ve had no time to train together so we just played along as our coach advised. I was under the pressure, but I’m happy to get this win.”

Next up was the women’s singles final, featuring the two Japanese Sayakas. In the first game, Sayaka Takahashi (pictured below) got out to a good lead and it looked as if it would be an easy match for her.

However the second game went the way of the other Sayaka.  Takahashi finally edged out Sayaka Sato, scraping by 29-27 in the deciding game, after 77 minutes.

“My condition was not so good, but I was able to win. I didn’t care about my mistakes, I just tried to return the shuttles to the opponent’s court,” said Sayaka Takahashi afterward.  “Then the opponent made mistakes before me. I had confidence about my some skills, but want to have more skills around the net. I believe better net skills can allow me to score more wins.”

The third match was men’s singles, between Kazumasa Sakai of Japan and Korea’s Jeon Hyeok Jin (pictured bottom), who was runner-up at the recent Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold.  As Sakai said after the match, Jeon Hyeok Jin began to move around the court faster and faster from second game.

Sakai found it hard to take the shuttles high because he was moving a bit slow. Meanwhile, the Korean player’s net shots also become better and better and Jeon Hyeok Jin got the win in the deciding game.

“ I lost to Sakai last year so I know he can move fast,” said Jeon Hyeok Jin after the match.  “I followed his speed and just returned calmly and then, Sakai made mistakes.”

“My first step in the rally was a bit slow today, so I didn’t control the shuttles well, especially in front of the net,” Sakai said.

The 4th match was women’s doubles, pitting China’s World Junior Champion pair Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (pictured) against Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota of Japan.  The Chinese pair led from start till the end of the match with strong offence.

“We played well today. This is our second title, after the India Grand Prix Gold,” Jia commented to Badzine after the match.

Chen added, “Every match was tough to win, including this one.”

“I’m disappointed, but it is good to reach final,” said Fukushima.  “I realized from this loss that we need more experience in international tournaments.”

The final match of the tournament was men’s doubles. Defending champion pair Kenta Kazuno / Kazushi Yamada (pictured) beat 2012 World Junior Championship finalists Takuto Inoue / Yuki Kaneko.

Kazuno used his strong smash to give Yamada the attacking chance from the net.  The combination worked well and Inoue/Kaneko couldn’t turn it around when facing the consecutive attacking shots. Kazuno/Yamada defeated their younger team-mates in the company and take their third consecutive title

“We were just focusing on playing our best. At the same time, we didn’t allow our opponents to play their pace,” Kazuno said afterward.

Yamada added, “I’m happy to be able to keep the title. I was able to play as I like because my partner is always covering me. That’s our style.”

Final results
XD: Kim Duck Young / Eom Hye Won (KOR) [5] beat Liu Yuchen / Huang Dongping (CHN) [6]  21-17, 16-21, 21-17
WS: Sayaka Takahashi (JPN) [1] beat Sayaka Sato (JPN) [2]  21-11, 15-21, 29-27
MS: Jeon Hyeok Jin (KOR) [6] beat Kazumasa Sakai (JPN) [2]  15-21, 21-17, 21-14
WD: Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan China (CHN) beat Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota (JPN) [3]  21-17, 21-15
MD: Kenta Kazuno / Kazushi Yamada (JPN) [2] beat Takuto Inoue / Yuki Kaneko (JPN) [3]  21-9, 21-19

Click here for complete 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 @