Sunday, June 15th
The Long Awaited Final! Will Lee Chong Wei Get a Third Consecutive Win, or Will Hu Yun Snag the Champion Title He’s Always Wanted?
Match 1 (Starting at 2:00 pm)
London Olympic Champion Li Xuerui Boasts China’s Strength
|Li Xuerui (CHN)
World No.1/23 Years Old
|VS||Tai Tzu Ying (TPE)
World No.7/19 Years Old
Win-Loss Record: Li Xuerui 7 Wins 0 Losses
Gold medalist Li Xuerui goes against 2012 Yonex Open Japan champion Tai Tzu Ying—an excellent matchup which should prove for an exciting final.
At 23 years old, Li Xuerui is truly a rising star. Making her Superseries debut in 2012, she stood above everyone else with an Olympic gold medal around her neck in August of that same year. In the two years since then, she remains the world’s top female badminton player, and is not in the mood to give that position up. It goes without saying that she has a high chance of achieving her first championship title at this year’s Yonex Open Japan. “I know I can win tomorrow,” said this number 1 player with pride. At 174cm tall, her elegant downward swings and heavy-hitting attacks shouldn’t be missed.
“I’ll play like I play,” declared the challenger, Tai Tzu Ying. Cute as a button with keen movements about the court, this 19 year old’s specialty lies in racking up points with unexpected, tricky shots. Tzu Ying is also an expert at reading the situation and reacting to it accordingly. “It’s not good for me to think a certain player is a certain way and plan around that. Their energy changes day by day, just like the wind in the court,” said the young shuttler from Chinese Taipei.
This will be a match to remember. With the pressure of being a gold medalist on her back, will Li Xuerui be able to preserve her pride, or will free-spirited Tai Tzu Ying come out of nowhere with an unexpected shot?
Comments from the players
“While I’ve beaten Tai Tzu Ying seven times, every match starts at 0-0. I’ll figure her out thoroughly, and take her on fully prepared.”
Tai Tzu Ying
“When I went up against her last time, her flawless plays and persistence even when being lead left a huge impression on me. I may not have won against her, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up.”
Japanese Showdown: Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsutomo and Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa Fight for the Champion Title
|Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsutomo (JPN)
World No.4/24 Years Old/22 Years Old
|VS||Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa (JPN)
World No.6/28 Years Old/24 Years Old
International Win-Loss Record: Ayaka/Misaki 2 Wins 0 Losses
Japan is on fire! Much in the same way that Akane Yamaguchi and Shizuka Uchida fought for the women’s singles title last year, this year sees another all-Japanese final in women’s doubles. No matter who wins, this will be the first time a Japanese pair has gotten the championship title in women’s doubles at Yonex Open Japan.
The players in this grand final act are Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsutomo and Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa, making this the third all-Japanese women’s doubles final in the Superseries.
Champions, Ayaka/Misaki are the highest ranked females doubles pair in Japan at No.6 in the global rankings. They have made it to four Superseries finals, but have yet to claim victory at any of them. “We want our first Superseries victory to be in Japan,” commented the two before their final. This pair’s secret weapon is their up-and-back attack formation. With clever Misaki’s accurate reading of her opponents in front of the net, along with Ayaka’s weapons’ grade smashes, these two are impossible to take down when they engage their opponents in battle.
However, Miyuki /Reika have the upper hand over their veteran opponents, with Miyuki getting fourth place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Reika getting the silver medal in 2012’s London Olympics. Furthermore, out of the four, Miyuki is the only one with a Superseries champion title under her belt.
In addition, these two are famous for their strong attacks. After both of their partners retired, these two back-court girls are a new pair, only formed last August. Together for just half a year, the pair had some issues getting off to a good start, but now they’ve started developing an attack-heavy style. “Before I paired with Reika, my style was all about finding chances to attack while receiving. Now that Reika and I am a pair, we’re all about our attacks, and we want to show how good we are at them,” commented Miyuki.
While Ayaka/Misaki are two wins strong, Miyuki/Reika took them all the way to the third set when they competed at the Malaysian Open in January of this year. Now that it’s June, Miyuki/Reika most likely stand just as tall as their opponents. Seeing as it’s impossible to say who will reign victorious, fans just need to watch and find out!
Eyes on His Fifth Yonex Open Japan Title, Lee Chong Wei Faces Veteran Hu Yun
|Lee Chong Wei (MAS)
World No.1/31 Years Old
|VS||Hu Yun (HKG)
World No.15/32 Years Old
Win-Loss Record: Lee Chong Wei 6 Wins 0 Losses
Beijing and London silver medalist, Lee Chong Wei is shooting for his fifth championship title at Yonex Open Japan, etching another legend into badminton history. If he wins, he will have five titles at Yonex Open Japan to his name—the most of any player—and will certainly leave an impression on fans for decades to come.
Still in top form at full power, he took down Japanese ace Kenichi Tago overwhelmingly in the semifinal. His performance is unmatched, exhibiting the fastest speed in the world on the court, smashing the shuttle deep, then immediately running towards the net. In this final, he will definitely display his super-human ability for fans to marvel at.
Veteran Hu Yun, who turns 33 in August of this year, came from behind to win against world No.3 Jan O Jorgensen, and is moving on into the finals. Only making it into a Superseries final once two years ago, Yun became very emotional about his semifinal victory, exclaiming, “I’m just really, really glad.” With a play style heavily focused around craft, he had this to say about his performance on the court: “While I’m low on power, I take points by way of my techniques. I save my energy until the second half of the match, and get my opponent when he’s exhausted.”
Will Hu Yun be able to stop the speeding bullet that is Lee Chong Wei with his superb technique? Fans will have to wait and see.
Comments from the players
Lee Chong Wei
“With the Thomas Cup just ending two weeks ago at the end of May, I can’t say I’m in the best condition. However, I want to grab a victory for my sponsor, Yonex, in their country, Japan. I will fight valuing each and every point I score.”
“Laughing at tough points in the match? I’m a veteran, and am used to being in many tight spots, that’s way I can play calmly now. Tomorrow, more than victory, I will simply do like I did in the semifinal; take things rally-by-rally.”
Indonesian World Champions Take On the Korean Doubles Kingdom
|Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (INA)
World No.1/26 Years Old/29 Years Old
|VS||Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR)
World No.6/25 Years Old/27 Years Old
Win-loss Record: Korean Pair 3 Wins 1 Loss
It’s a battle between offence and defense in this men’s doubles final. Offence specialists, Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan commanded 2013’s World Championships with their fast, accurate attacks. It doesn’t matter where in the court the shuttle goes, these two will hit back relentlessly. Even in tight relays, these two remain playful, catching their opponents off guard with shots that come out of nowhere.
The opposing defense specialists, Korean pair Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong erect an iron wall with their receptions. Possessing truly legendary defensive power, no matter how cornered, these two will strike back with a cross. Only pairing up in August of last year, these two already have two Superseries titles under their belts. Lee’s forward guard, which he has continued brilliantly from high school through to his ascension to the world stage is nothing short of genius. Complimenting his partner, Yoo is able accurately read his opponent, and hit strongly before they can do anything. They are said to resemble the “God of Doubles,” Park Joo-Bong, current head coach for the Japanese national team.
It’s either Indonesia’s machinegun shuttles, or Korea’s firm defense. Either way, victory lies at the end at what is likely to be a match with several long rallies.
Comments from the pairs
Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan
“Doesn’t matter if we end up laughing or crying tomorrow, since this is the end, we’ll just take our strength as far as it takes us.”
Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong
“We’ve faced this pair a few times before. If we don’t focus on what we know about them, we can’t win. What we have to focus on now is mental preparation.”
London Olympics Gold Medalists Face Europe’s Stars
|Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (CHN)
World No.1/24 Years Old/27 Years Old
|VS||Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels (GER)
World No.13/32 Years Old/29 Years Old
Win-Loss Record: Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei 5 Wins 0 Losses
Meeting everyone’s expectations, Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei have made it to the Yonex Open Japan final. After their big victory at the 2012 London Olympics, these two have ruled as the masters of mixed doubles. If they win again, it’ll be their second consecutive title and their third all together, and there’s a high chance victory will come their way once again.
However, making their way to the final from the other side of the bracket, German pair Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels are persistent as they try to achieve victory. Letting out a roar upon snagging another point, Michael will come to court wanting to prove his strength having made it to the final. “I think we have a good thing with Japan, getting into third place in 2011. Leveraging our skills as a pair, we’ll have fun and do our best,” commented Michael.
Conversely, with Olympic, world, Uber Cup, Asian Cup, and English Open championship titles under her belt, Zhao Yunlei is feeling very confident. “There’s no pressure. Tomorrow I’ll just aim for victory and have fun,” commented the Chinese shuttler.
Mixed doubles is all about clearly deciding the man’s and woman’s roles, creating a great combination that connects to victory. Which pair will show the better synergy?
*Schedule may change without prior notice.