JAPAN OPEN 2019 R16 – Ups and downs for Japan

The good run ended for Kanta Tsuneyama on Thursday but Japan secured some good wins on their home soil to set them up for the quarter-finals. By Miyuki Komiya, Badzine […]

The good run ended for Kanta Tsuneyama on Thursday but Japan secured some good wins on their home soil to set them up for the quarter-finals.

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

The opening match featured men’s doubles between Lee Yang / Wang Chi Lin from Chinese Taipei and Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda (photo) from Japan. Lee/Wang had obviously studied the tactics of the Japanese and played offensively from early on. But Kamura tried to move to the net fast from their defensive situation and gave his team many chances to take the attack.

The Japanese tactics gave them 7 consecutive points in the middle of the first game, which they clinched 21-16. The second game was a close one until 17-17, when the Taiwanese lost a challenge and their composure, making many mistakes – long or wide. The last point was a net hit by Sonoda providing with the final win 21-16, 21-18.

“Our performance was bad yesterday because we only played defense.  After the match yesterday, we discussed our tactics in our room. I wanted to know about my partner’s opinion clearly. So this time, I was able to move to the net faster than yesterday, and with confidence,”  said Kamura.

Sonoda added, “I clearly found our better way in the match because of the meeting. My partner could rush to the net, so I could focus on getting to the backcourt. It made our combination better today.”

“Since we studied their play style and strength, we were able to make a good start and kept stacking up points. We expected to win in the first game when we were leading 15-11 so our performance became too safe, without being aggressive enough,” said Lee.

Kanta out, Kento in

Japanese Kanta Tsuneyama, who defeated Chen Long on Tuesday, was not able to get one more win from Sai Praneeth from India.  The Japanese player couldn’t master the shuttle today. But defending champion Kento Momota (pictured) played well against Kantaphon Wangcharoen from Thailand. Momota covered the court with speed, thanks to his footwork, and tried to get early chances to attack from the beginning of the game- unlike what he usually does, which is tend to move slowly and rely on his great defense in first games. His new tactic worked wonders as he beat the Thai 21-12, 21-13.

“I played offensively from the start and also, I could focus on my defense,” said Momota after the match. “My opponent can move fast and attack well but I could manage my performance well today.

“I knew my opponent was focussing on my net shots because his position was close to the net so I tried to hit the shuttles to the back of the court. My tactics worked successfully as I played at my pace.

“My opponent tomorrow is [Anthony] Ginting. He is one of my great rivals in my generation. I believe I have a chance to win if I can retrieve his attacks. Anyway, I will do my best performance tomorrow.”

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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