JAPAN OPEN 2016 R32 – Germans upset top seeds

The first World Superseries tournament after the Olympics kicked off in Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Tuesday. German young players Lamsfuss and Seidel created a big upset against 1st seeded China’s veteran in […]

The first World tournament after the Olympics kicked off in Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Tuesday. German young players Lamsfuss and Seidel created a big upset against 1st seeded China’s veteran in men’s doubles first round, in a day full of surprises.

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

Many countries had sent their young talented players to see who will become the next star players to feature in place of retired or resting Olympians. This was the case for Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss / Marvin Emil Seidel (photo), the 44th ranked men’s doubles pair in the world, and they created the upset of the day by beating top seeds Chai Biao / Hong Wei. Lamsfuss is 22 years old and Seidel is 20. It was a see-saw match from beginning till the end but the young German pair kept their slight lead the whole time, for a final 21-17, 21-17 win in only 35 minutes.

“This match was the best we have ever played,” Seidel told Badzine after the match.  “We were serving well and had solid defence that gave us confidence. We always believed that we could win and I think that’s also one of the biggest reasons why we won in the end. Now we are looking forward to our next match and hope that we can perform good again.”

Tai out

The woman’s singles draw was filled with local players – 12 were included in the round of 32 players- and 10 Japanese made it through to the second round.

The main upset match was between former Olympian Sayaka Sato (pictured) and Taiwan’s world #7 Tai Tzu Ying.  Sato was very nervous in the first game but Tai Tzu Ying looked tired. Sato caught Tai at 13 points and lead as 20-17.

Tai Tzu Ying (photo) didn’t give up the game and caught back at 20 points, only to watch as Sato took the game 22-20. After the 1st game, Sato thought Tai Tzu Ying would increase the speed of the rallies, so she opted for a speeding up the pace herself . Her strategy was successful and she ended up defeating the young Taiwan player 22-20, 21-14.

“I was nervous. But my strategy worked as good. I’m happy for my performance today” Sayaka Sato told Badzine.

On the other hand, the men’s singles wasn’t as successful on the Japanese side. Kenichi Tago, and Kento Momota could not enter the tournament after their ban from Japan Badminton Association and Sho Sasaki had announced his retirement after Olympics. The local men’s singles contingent was limited to 5 players in the qualification rounds and only one of these reached the main draw.

Japan’s sole hope was world #99 Riichi Takeshita (pictured), who played against world #5 Jan O Jorgensen.  The Dane played steadily and kept the lead throughout the match, winning it 21-15, 21-13.

Three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei and Rio bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen were featured later in the evening. They commented they were very tired and didn’t recover completely after Rio. But both of them went through to the 2nd round easily. “I’m tired after the Olympics but I need to honour my sponsor’s contract so I should be here and play my best here,” said Lee Chong Wei.  “It may be the time to think about my retirement after the next World Championship but I will enjoy my matches till then at least. I don’t think I will be able to play in the Olympics here in 2020.”

Axelsen said, “Actually, I had some rest after the Olympics. My mentality was bit down because I needed to manage everything at a time including media work, top tournament and many other things. But I always have to play in the .   Anyway, I will have a good rest for tomorrow.”

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 @ badzine.net