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September 23, Quarter final

September 23rd, 2011 (National holiday in Japan as the Autumnal Equinox Day)

Today is the 4th day of the tournament. Yonex Open Japan 2011 at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium where more than 1,000 fans are queuing up in several lines and waiting for opening the gate to the Gymnasium at about 1000AM Tokyo time witch time was 2hours prior to the games get started.

Eventually, the Gymnasium was packed by spectators more than 6,800(as of 1400PM today) due to expanding badminton population and the national holiday here in Tokyo.
The spectators were all expected to watch the matches from a short distance with a sound of shuttlecocks thrust by an angled racket from the world top ranked players. If you are seated in the S-Seat, you can see a drop of sweat from their faces and hear their deep and fast breathing in the course of exchanging rallies.

MEN'S SINGLES

LEE Chong Wei(MAS, BWF world ranking 1) VS Kenichi TAGO(JPN, BWF world ranking 19)

Head to Head
7 - 0

Tago played very well against no.1 ranker and no.1 seeded Lee.
Game went very speedy by both sides' drive and net shots. Tago persistently followed Lee's various shots and made effective smashes, net-shots etc timely.
In this way Tago got 7 consecutive points after 9-11, then won the 1st game 23-21. In 2nd game, Lee's shot became precious, while Tago made rather many mis-shots to the result of 7-21 loss.
This tendency continued in final game and Lee led to 11-4 including 3 consecutive points and 2times 4consecutive points.
It looked Lee would win very easily. However, Tago got back himself and again started persistent rallies and timely attack by smash which took Lee by surprise.
Tago caught up to 8-11, and after being taken 6 consecutive points by Lee to 9-18, again 18-20, but in vain to recover the match.

WOMEN'S SINGLES

Tine Baun(DEN, BWF world ranking 6) VS Wang Yihan(CHN, BWF world ranking 1)

Head to Head
5 - 5

Tine started the game very wisely to place her all the shots under her perfect control so that all the returns from Yihan can be reaced easily by Tine. Yihan sometimes was not able to respond to Tine’s versatile shots from her long reach.
Tine went to 11-10 interval first with only one point lead. And then the game was changed because Yihan started to attack faster and at the same time Tine seemed to have decided to look shuttlecocks rather than hitting them back. The strange wind in the gymnasium may have deceived Tine’s judgment. From 11-10 in favor to Tine, Yihan gained 7 consecutive points to 11-16 before closing the first game at 21-17.

In the second game, Tine came back and fought very energetic manner and precise placements, while Yihan could not catch up from 9-14. Tine won the second game at 21-14. After the match interview, Tine reckoned that she could play very well despite her injury.

In the final game, both played very well displaying all their specialities and spirit which all the spectators in the Gymnasium noticed and enjoyed for sure.
The fainal game went to 13-15 in favor for Yihan, then Yihan scored 5 points consecutively to 13-19.
Tine tried to catch up, however she lost the final game at 15-21.

Yihan told press that Tine was very good in 2nd game.

WOMEN'S DOUBLES

Shizuka MATSUO & Mami NAITO(JPN, BWF world ranking 7) VS YIXIN Bao & ZHONG Qianxin(CHN, BWF world ranking 90)

Both pairs basically made long rallies using high clear, drop-shot net-play then hit strong smash.
After 11-14 Japanese pair won 3 consecutive points and 4 consecutive points, up to 18-17. And after getting 2 points by keeping attack with smash and drive-shot, finally Japan’s service made net in to the win of 1st game by Japan.
2nd game proceeded almost same as 1st game, and after close game through 12-12, 15-15, 18-18, Japan got 2 consecutive points to match point. But at this critical point, Japanese pair got nervous, and repeated mis-shots, to lose the game 20-22.
In the final game, China pair became very high spirits, while Japan discouraged. China got 6 consecutively, after 0 -1, playing aggressively with their smash and drive aiming Japanese Naito who was more nervous. But after 12-6, Japan recovered their spirits and made both good attack and receive until 20-19 getting 3 consecutive points by receiving patiently China’s succeeding strong attack. Finally after very severe rallies, net-shot by Japan went a little side line to the result of China’s 2-1 win.

MIXED DOUBLES

Shoji Sato & Shizuka Matsuo(JPN, BWF world ranking 26) VS Joachim Fischer Nielsen & Christinna Pedersen(DEN, BWF world ranking 4)

Head to Head
0 - 0

Japanese pair started the game very well and went to 11-5 lead at the interval. Up until this stage, Danish pair was a little bit slow in responding to Sato’s strong smash and level drive shots and therefore Joachim was forced to stay in front court and Christinna was detained in the rear part of the court.
To turn over this situation, Joachim said after the match interview, he and Christinna tried hard to speed up the pace, which enabled them to catch up and overtake the opponents at 14-13. It seemed that Japanese pair was kept a little bit rear part of the court than usual receiving position because they needed to prepare against Danish bomb smashes. Japanese lost the first game at 13-21, when Danish net shot turned into the Japanese court.
At the interval while they are listening to their coach’s advice, Danish pair looked less nervous than the time when they started the first game.
In the second game, Danish duo started to speed up further and entered into the best part of their performance in this game. They have used all their abilities especially the height of their striking point of shuttlecocks from ceilings to the floor. Further they could do whatever they aimed to do and may be more than 70% of their anticipation was proved to be right.
Danish duo apparently tried to return and attack Matsuo as much as possible and it seemed that this strategy was successfully achieved. Matsuo was unable to return and hit the shuttlecocks stronger and more effectively than the first game.
Danish pair closed the match by wining the second game at 21-10.
Joachim said after the match interview, they have watched the Japanese duo and learned a lot to establish their strategy before the match. As Japanese mixed doubles are getting stronger and stronger, Danish pair added. The writer read the words as “in order to win the game step by step and one by one precisely in accordance with their established strategy in advance.”

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