June 13th, Lee Chong Wei and Tommy Sugiarto Collide in a Fight for National Pride; Lin Dan and Maeda/Kakiiwa To Play in Night Session Matches
Quarterfinal Matches to Keep an Eye On
Hot off the Thomas and Uber Cups, Kenichi Tago, Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsutomo aim for their first champion titles!
|Lee Chong Wei (MAS)
World No.1/31 Years Old/Win-Loss Record: 10 Wins
World No.5/25 Years Old
With the second round over, it's time for the quarter finals, where fans can expect a non-stop succession of top-quality matches. But even for a quarterfinal match, it feels a bit too soon for world No.1 Lee Chong Wei to encounter world No.5 Tommy Sugiarto.
Badminton is a sensation in both Malaysia and Indonesia, with both countries holding it up proudly as their national sport, and shuttlers receiving the same treatment as pros from any other major sport worldwide. Representing the sport for both countries are aces Chong Wei and Tommy respectively. Fans can expect a battle for national pride in the quarterfinal between these two.
Chong Wei clearly has the advantage, with 10 wins and 0 loses against Tommy. With Chong Wei's experience as a finalist in both the Beijing and London Olympics, Tommy doesn't seem to have much of a chance. "As far as skills go, there's no difference between me and Chong Wei; just a difference in mindset. I have to take him down."
Fans will soon see if Tommy can grab his first win against the world's top, or if Chong Wei will reign supreme once again. No matter what, these two will definitely take their skills to the next level in this quarterfinal.
|Kenichi Tago (JPN)
World No.4/24 Years Old/Win-Loss Record: 2 Wins 1 Loss
World No.14/28 Years Old
Confident in his strength as a European shuttler, Hans-Kristian goes against world-class technical player Kenichi Tago. "Even though he has more wins on me, it's always a close match, and that's where I'll have my chance," commented Hans-Kristian. Kenichi is acute at reading players and effectively using that information to win, from figuring out their center-of-gravity to where they'll swing next. To his opponents, it's like magic. "I like to think it's the kind of badminton fans really like," commented Kenichi. What kind of spell will Kenichi cast on Hans-Kristian in the quarterfinal?
Match commences at Night Session
|Lin Dan (CHN)
World No.35/30 Years Old/Win-Loss Record 5 Wins 1 Loss
|VS||Jan O Jorgensen
World No.15/32 Years Old
Despite being ranked at 35 globally, with Olympic and world champion titles under his belt, it could be said that Lin Dan (CHN) is the world's true No.1. He faces world No.3 Jan O Jorgensen in the quarterfinal.
After refraining from any Superseries appearances since the 2012 London Olympics, Lin Dan took the world stage once again in April of this year, appearing in global competitions. After engaging himself in intense training in his home country, he faced Japan's Sho Sasaki in April's Asian Championships. "His footwork has gotten way more efficient, and he's certainly gotten stronger since the London Olympics," commented Sho. Gaining even more strength since his two Olympic titles, the newly-evolved Lin Dan is something fans are absolutely looking forward to.
|Chen Long (CHN)
World No.2/25 Years Old/Win-Loss Record: 6 Wins
|VS||Hu Yun (HKG)
World No.15/32 Years Old
2011 Yonex Open Japan champion Chen Long will go head-to-head with 32-year-old veteran Hu Yun.
"100% isn't enough to beat him, so I will play at 120%," spoke Yun frankly about his tenacious opponent. If Yun can recreate the kind of hairpin shot that took Takuma Ueda (JPN) down in round 2, we just might be able to take Long down.
Match commences at around 13:00
|Tai Tzu Ying (TPE)
World No.7/19 Years Old/Win-Loss Record: 1 Win
|VS||Sayaka Takahashi (JPN)
World No.12/21 Years Old
After dominating over Wang Yihan (CHN) who had sights set on a fourth title, Sayaka Takashi is now eyeing the semifinals, but 2012 champion Tai Tzu Ying stands in her way. "Recently, more than just attacking, I've learned to attack while defending," said Sayaka. Taking down stronger opponents is Sayaka's specialty. Having defeated badminton stalwarts like Ratchanok Intanon, Sayaka has shown time and time again that she has what it takes to go against opponents tougher than her.
Sayaka had met Tzu Ying in last year's tournament, and lost. Despite leading against Tzu Ying 17-7, tables turned, and Tzu Ying came out on top. Reduced to tears in 2013 and filled with regret, Sayaka intends to prove her strength against Tzu Ying "While she's good at bluffing, I think it's more important to concentrate on my own plays, and pull off a win," declared Sayaka, with eyes firmly set on a champion title.
|Li Xuerui (CHN)
World No.1/23 Years Old/Win-Loss Record: 2 Wins
|VS||Carolina Marin (ESP)
World No.11/20 Years Old
London Olympic gold medalist Li Xuerui (CHN) will be swinging against the passionate Carolina Marin (ESP), with Xuerui having a really high chance of victory. However, with Carolina's hard smashes and overwhelming attacks, she isn't in the mood to lose.
"I know Li Xuerui is an Olympic champion, but I've played three whole games with her before, so I think I have a good chance," commented Carolina. If the determined 20 year old can find an opening in this champion's top-level game, it will her first time advancing to a Superseries semifinal. If Carolina can find the right chance, her signature battle cry will definitely echo throughout the arena.
|Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsumoto
World No.3/24 Years Old/22 Years Old/Win-Loss Record: 1 Win
|VS||Yuriko Miki/Koharu Yonemoto
World No.45/24 Years Old/23 Years Old
The four all rivals since as early as their elementary school days, Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsumoto will take to the court against Yuriko Miki/Koharu Yonemoto. Within the four's long history, Yonemoto actually competed against Ayaka/Misaki for the national championship title in high school. Looking only at achievements, Ayaka/Misaki clearly have the advantage, recently winning all their matches in the Uber Cup—including the final with China. However, all four know each other very well, so it's very difficult to say what could happen.
With Yuriko injuring her finger in March, this tournament is a comeback for the shuttler. For what she is unable to shoot, she has to make up for with a wide variety of plays. Yuriko/Koharu must not simply rely on attacks—if they manage to exhibit a new style with more focus on defense, they may be able to throw off Ayaka/Misaki. That will be their chance.
Match commences at Night Session
|Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa
World No.6/28 Years Old/24 Years Old/Win-Loss Record: First Matchup
|VS||Ou Dongni/Xiong Mengjing
World No.69/21 Years Old/20 Years Old
Originally paired with different partners who have since retired from the international stage, Miyuki Maeda and Reika Kakiiwa finally paired up with each other last August. With Miyuki coming in fourth at the Beijing Olympics and Reika the semifinalist at the London Olympics, they are a pair defined by their raw power. Their combined strength has already brought their global ranking up to 6.
"I used to be good at attacking to fit with the flow of the game, but now with Reika, we control the game. We intend to play in our own style," commented Miyuki. While the young Chinese pair of Ou Dongi/Xiong Mengjing won't be easy to take down, Miyuki/Reika have the advantage when it comes to experience.
Men's and Mixed Doubles
If there's a pair in men's doubles known for their sharp and fast plays, it's Japan's Noriyasu Hirata/Hirokatsu Hashimoto, who will be making their way to the quarterfinal. Getting injured in the Thomas Cup, Noriyasu could only appear in one match, but in this year's Yonex Open Japan, he and Hirokatsu boasted a momentous victory over 2012 champions Kim Ki Jung/Kim Sa Rang (KOR). If Noriyasu/Hirokatsu make it to the semifinals, it'll be their first time in a Superseries semifinal since March 2012.
Another matches worth seeing include No.1 Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan and world No.6 Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong's matches. These two pairs are at the top the list to take the championship title, with their uncanny abilities the accurately control the shuttle in the midst of intense rallies. Even in dire situations, these two pairs deliver results, and their matches are absolutely not to be missed.
In mixed doubles, European world No.13 Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels will have to prove themselves against world No.5 Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock. Between these two European pairs, they will show that in badminton, it's not just all about the Asian players.
On the other side of the bracket, London Olympic champions Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (CHN) have made good progress this year, and are aiming for their first champion title since 2010. Yunlei's bravery in front of the net and in front of male players should make for an exciting match.
*Schedule may change without prior notice.