June 15th, Kenichi Tago and the Insurmountable Wall Before Him, Lee Chong Wei; First All-Japanese Final in Women's Doubles
Match report for Men's Singles
Lee Chong Wei(MAS) 21-15 / 21-17 Kenichi Tago(JPN)
World no.1 Lee Chong Wei overpowered his Japanese opponent in straight games to secure his position in finals tomorrow. Both players were able to live up spectators' expectations and showed a good 2 set games that lasted for 48 minutes. Chong Wei just faced Kenichi Tago 2 weeks ago, at the final of Thomas Cup. When asked for comments about his opponent, Chong Wei replied, "We both played more relaxed comparing to the Thomas Cup and I could feel that he is improving in every game."
World no.4 Kenichi wished he could play and stay longer in the court knowing that a lot of Japanese supports have come to see the game. "Although I have practiced and decided strategies and approach before facing Lee Chong Wei, I still could not defeat him with my current skills. His speed, power, and experience are in a whole different level compared to mine. I will focus on improving myself more from now on."
Hu Yun (HKG) 21-13 / 19-21 / 21-15 Jan O Jorgensen (DEN)
It was truly fierce battle between two players, very impressive and highly praised by the spectators. We had only two games for the semi-finals and the eyes from spectators were focused on these two courts. Therefore we can assume that players on the courts today could feel more pressure than yesterday.
Hu Yun started the first game rather offensive comparing to his regular playing style. By using more smashes, he attempted to impress Jorgensen to show that he could continue striking smashes whenever he wanted to deliver one.
Jorgensen looked somewhat uncomfortable with the way Hu Yun displayed today in front of a packed audiences in the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Hu Yun led the score all the time and was leading the game from 4-3 in favor to Hu Yun to 17-13 before closing the game at 21-13.
In the second game, until reaching the tie point at 15-15, they were fighting very furiously and it looked as each point was very difficult for two of them to earn. It was Jorgensen who gathered all his strength to speed up his footwork and deliver smashes effectively. Finally Jorgensen closed the game at 21-15. Hu Yun looked very tired physically from the middle of the second game and the spectators might have considered that eventually in the final game, Jorgensen may win the game and so the match.
During the final game, Hu seemed to adjust his playing strategy. He was understanding that his energy was running out and his shots were no longer fast and strong enough comparing to the early games. He, for example, did not come forward to receive the shuttlecocks up in the air and close to the net. Instead, he waited the shuttlecocks to come down near to the floor and aimed to return a lobbing or net shots. They go over the net higher than normal net shots but really close to the opponent's side of the net. But it rather depended on what Jorgensen was intending to do next. Hu Yun knew that Jorgensen was good at attacking opponent with net shots and as a result, Hu Yun's strategy was turned to be successful. Jorgensen led the final game at one time 8-4, 9-6, 13-8 and 14-12, however from 12-13 in favor to Jorgensen, Hu Yun looked to have revived and worked extremely hard with a big shouts when he scored a point and finally tied at 15-15. Amazingly from this point of time, it turned into Hu Yun's one man show with him successfully scoring 7 consecutive points to close and win the match from 15-15 to 21-15.
At the mixed zone interview, Jorgensen expressed that "I should have tried harder to keep the point gap between us because one time I led 13-8. I could have done better. I regret what happened today."
At the mixed zone interview, Hu Yun expressed with a full of smile on his face. "Before starting the game, I did not consider that I could win the match against Jorgensen today. I saw the eagerness of Jorgensen to win the match from his attitude. I just wanted to enjoy playing and the result would come along if I am lucky enough. I also look forward to playing against Lee Chong Wei tomorrow and I hope to enjoy playing the Men's final. If I can do that in the final match regardless its result, I would be very happy."
Match report for Women's Singles
Li Xuerui (China rank no.1) 21-15 / 23-21 Ji Hyun Sung (Korea rank no.5)
Li Xuerui displayed consistent and positive attacking shots throughout the course of this match. Li was very well prepared to receive and return any kinds of shots from Sung. Korean was delivering an explosive smashes towards the Li's body, as well as fast high clear shots towards the end line. Sung successfully delivered these good shots from time to time in order to turn over her loosing situation.
Nevertheless didn't have enough of those shots to change the flow of the game. Li reckoned in a mixed zone interview that she played very well today thanks to spectators here who cheered the good shots and performance regardless nationality of the players. Another reason why she could play well was that she got more familiar with the venue and its wind by today.
Liu Xin (CHN) 21-15 / 19-21 / 9-21 Tai Tzu Ying (TPE)
Today we could see a lot of mistakes from Chinese Taipei's top seed Tai Tzu Ying (world rank no. 7) during the first game and the first half of the second game. This situation gave her opponent, Liu Xin (world rank no.33) a chance to wonderfully control the beginning of the game. Yet early to give up, Tzu Ying improved her performances and could turn over the situation. At the end of the second game, Tzu Ying started to show her polished skills and totally crushed Liu by the end of the third game. "I kept saying to myself to stay focused and not to make further misses. I couldn't give up despite being totally over controlled during the first game. I know that both of us were very tired during the third game, but I am glad I could stay focused." said the 19 years old player. Injury was seen on Tzu Ying's right feet, but she said although she could feel the pain, the injury does not affect her play so far.
Match report for Men's Doubles
Lee Yong Dae & Yoo Yeon Seong(KOR Rank no.6)21-16 / 21-14 Angga Pratama & Ryan Agung Saputra(INA Rank no.13)
This was rather entertaining 42 minutes long match between Indonesian and Korean players. Both pairs played equally well in the first game. Spectators' eyes were focused on intensive exchange of hard smashes among the opponents. Keeping the stable play, Korean pair won this game 21-16. When the second game started, Indonesian pair seemed to lose their concentration, leaving their defense open to attacks from Korean side. This led them to several mistakes and widened the score gap between the opponents. The match ended with the huge score gap at 21-14.
Asked a comment regarding the match, Indonesian pair mentioned that, although their front play was better than that of their opponents, their attacks were not sharp enough to break through their opponents' defense strategy. This was giving them a hard time during the match. Korean pair said that they spend a lot of time preparing for this match. They practiced the strategy against Indonesian pair and this helped them to play more offensive, eventually wining the match. As for tomorrow's final match, Korean pair commented that they would prepare themselves depending on who their opponent will be. If the Japanese win today's match, it will give a lot of advantage to Japanese pair. They are in a very good condition and moreover this is their home ground, which is an advantage to them. If the Indonesian pair wins the match, they will need to do a lot of image training since they have been facing them several times (Head to Head: 3-1). Keeping the concentration all the time is the key, they added.
Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (INA) 21-8 / 21-10 Hirokatsu Hashimoto & Noriyasu Hirata
Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan pair, who is Indonesia's top seed and also world no.1, did not waste time in court. All they needed was just 25 minutes to beat Japanese pair, Hirokatsu Hashimoto & Noriyasu Hirata. Right from the start, Ahsan / Setiawan played sharply and precisely, leaving their opponents confused and somehow lost. Admitting their loss, Hisamoto / Hirata pair said they could not show their play at all and felt the gap between their and Ahsan / Setiawan' power.
Match report for Women's Doubles
Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa(JPN) 15-21 / 21-19 / 21-13 Kyung Eun Jung /Kim Ha Na(KOR)
This is match was between WR. No.6 Japanese pair and WR. No.10 Korean pair.
All through the match, spectators could enjoy really breathtaking rallies with astonishing defense and fierce attacks from both sides. No one could expect when each rally could get interrupted.During the first game, Jung/Kim's non-stop strong shots overtook Maeda/Kakiiwa to make handsome lead from 7-7 to 7-10 and 9-12 to 9-17. The game finished with rather easy Korean pair's victory at 15-21. To the middle of second game, Maeda didn't seem to be in good condition and made unforced errors, but thanks to the Kakiiwa's excellent shots, they patiently trailed Jung/Kim and gradually picked up their pace. After reaching 10-10 in second game, Maeda/Kakiiwa focused on different part of the court, aggressively moving forward to control the net. After the rest of the tough rallies, Japanese pair won the game at 21-19. In the final game, Jung/Kim pair seemed to be knocked out of their pace. That led to number of errors. After 5-9, Maeda/Kakiiwa completely controlled the game and took over Jung/Kim with 21-13 score. Tomorrow Maeda/Kakiiwa will battle against national teammate pair, Takahashi/Matsutomo.
Misaki Matsutomo & Ayaka Takahasi (JPN) 21-9 / 21-17 Jang Ye Na & So Young Kim (KOR)
Misaki Matsutomo & Ayaka Takahasi [JPN Rank: 3] WON 2-0, (21-9, 21-17)
Jang Ye Na & So Young Kim [KOR Rank:5]
YOJ 2014 Semi Final Tournament started with this women's doubles match. During the first game, Japanese pair fully controlled the court and hammered the Korean pair to their defeat at 21-9. Korean pair seemed to catch up the pace and gave a good fight from the start of the second game. However, Japanese pair gave not a single chance to their opponents. Matsutomo/Takahasi didn't lose the momentum and were leading the scoreboard from the very beginning of the first game. They ended the match by winning the game 21-17.
On the press interview, Korean pair said that they were not in a very good shape today. They couldn't control their bodies' moves and keep up with the speed of the shuttle coming from their opponents. They also said that Japanese pair is getting stronger. They make less mistakes and having a more offensive play.
"We lost once to Korean pair, so this time we came with a feeling of a challenge in front of us. In order to stay focused on the game and deliver our best performance, we decided not to think about winning or losing" said Japanese player. "Tomorrow we will also do our best play to win this tournament "they added.
Match report for Mixed Doubles
Zhang Nan & Zhao Yunlei (CHN) 21-14 / 21-13 Kenichi Hayakawa & Misaki Matsutomo (JPN)
Zhang Nan & Zhao Yunlei, BWF ranked number 1 in mixed doubles, won a victory against Japanese pair, Kenichi Hayakawa and Misaki Matsutomo (BWF rank No.19).
The first game was under control of Chinese pair, as Zhang precisely delivered smashes from the high angle and kept Zhao a forward and forced Japanese duo to lob to make smashes from the partner. Despite of all attempts from Hayakawa to aggressively attack with straight smashes and tricky drop shots, both players of Chinese pair kept returning and earned consecutive points at the crucial time. The first game was won by Chinese duo at 21-14.
The second game was progressing in the similar manner to the first one. Although Japanese pair earned 5 consecutive points from 4-7 to 9-7, Chinese pair reversed the score with 4 consecutive points twice. Chinese pair was ahead of their Japanese opponents in the offense and defense, closing this game magnificently at 21-13.
Hayakawa and Matsutomo mentioned in the press conference "We are glad to be in the top 4 of the super series, especially Yonex Open Japan. Mixed doubles has become popular, so we want to aim to participate in Olympic at Rio de Janeiro."
Michael Fuchs & Birgit Michels (GER) 21-19 / 21-10 Chun Hei Lee & Hoi Wah Chau (HKG)
Michael Fuchs & Birgit Michels from Germany (BWF rank no.14) defeated Chun Hei Lee & Hoi Wah Chau from Hong Kong, the champions of Badminton Asia Championships 2014 in mixed doubles.
Throughout the championship German pair was in the excellent condition and kept playing well, defeating many powerful rivals. German pair was leading 9-4 from the beginning of the first game. Some of the points were earned due to Hong Kong pair's mistakes. Hong Kong's pair could catch up and exceed points at 19-18. However sending strong smashes from the high angle by German pair was very effective attacking tactic and helped them to close the game at 21-19.
The second game was one-sided and under total control of German pair. While Hong Kong pair used many low drive shots in the rally, German pair displayed steep smashes and series of unexpected drop shots. This tactics by German pair broke Hong Kong's pace and forced them to make unforced errors. As a result, German pair succeeded in closing this match at 21-10.
German duo mentioned in the interview "We had more offensive strength than the opponent. We really focused on three shots from the beginning of the rally to attack efficiently." Hong Kong pair commented, "We did not have chances to attack. We lost our rhythm during the game. However, we are satisfied with this result, best 4 in Yonex Open Japan of super series."