JAPAN OPEN 2019 Day 2 – More Olympic gold medallists ousted

Following one reigning Olympic champion out of the 2019 Japan Open were London winners Li Xuerui and Lin Dan, with Soniia Cheah and Jan Jorgensen doing the honours. By Miyuki […]

Following one reigning Olympic champion out of the 2019 were London winners Li Xuerui and , with Soniia Cheah and Jan Jorgensen doing the honours.

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

Indonesia Open finalists appeared on Wednesday for their first round contests at the Japan Open.  All of them were able to manage their matches successfully through any fatigue.  On the other hand, two more Chinese stars went out in the first round, but only after showing spectators their great performances and spirit.

Chinese legend Chen Long lost to a young Japanese challenger on Tuesday, but a day later, it was the turn of his Olympic gold medallist predecessor Lin Dan.  Lin lost to Jan Jorgensen of Denmark but not without a fight.

The first game went to Lin Dan 21-16 and the second belonged to Jorgensen as he romped to a 21-11.  Lin then took a commanding 12-6 lead in the deciding game, only to suddenly, experience trouble controlling the shuttle.

Jorgensen caught Lin with 6 consecutive points because of the 3-time champion’s easy mistakes.  Lin tried to control the shuttles to four corners, but continually sent the shuttle out of the court.  Lin didn’t give up and caught Jorgensen at 20-all.  Jorgensen kept his great concentration till the end and won as 23-21 on his 4th match point opportunity.

“I always love to play with Lin Dan,” Jorgensen said after match.  “I’m happy that I played well today.  When we play, our technique is not the key to get the win.  The key is patience.”

Lin said after match about his mistakes, “It’s natural to be winner or loser.  So I don’t care about it.  I had a big lead in the middle of the third game.  I was not able to keep my concentration because of the advantage so I gave my opponent many points by my easy mistakes.”

Unlike the Lin-Jorgensen rivalry, which has involved over a dozen matches and produced several wins for the Dane, including one at the Japan Open in 2014, former Olympic champion Li Xuerui lost to Soniia Cheah from Malaysia, an opponent she hadn’t faced since beating her way back in 2013.

Li Xuerui also found herself in a similar situation to Lin Dan.  In the deciding game, Li had a promising 9-4 lead, then gave 9 consecutive points to the Malaysian.  Cheah played offensively and got a win from a player for whom she admits to having great respect.

“I played quite well today,” Cheah told Badzine said after match.  “As you know, my opponent is a former Olympic gold medallist and still quite good player so I’m very happy to win!”

Li said after the match, “I am disappointed that I lost.  I love badminton very match so I came back to the badminton court.  My aim is just to play with my best performance every time.  The results just come later, with my performance being the higher priority.”

Another Chinese legend, doubles specialist Zhang Nan, played with his new partner Ou Xuanyi, with whom he debuted at the Indonesia Open.  This new Chinese pair played against Japan’s Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi, who are riding high after their semi-final finish in Jakarta.

Kobayashi admits he has been doing a lot of practice on his receiving skills.  It made the home pair’s tactics better.  The Japanese pair defeated the new Chinese duo 21-16, 21-14 in straight games.

“The good result in Indonesia open last week made us confident, though our performance is not stable enough,” Hoki said after the match.  “One month ago, we had a physical training camp.  We just focussed on physical training without even hitting shuttles.  So we felt our physical condition has become stronger and we are more stable than before.”

Zhang Nan said, “We paired up around 3 months ago.  We are going to play together for Olympic qualification.  I already recovered from my injury so I believe my performance will become better and better.  The Japanese doubles level is improving with speedy movement.”

Ou said, “I have learned many things from Zhang Nan both on and off of the court.  We’ll practice hard to get better results.”

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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