23rd September, 2016
Today, the quarter finals of the main draws took place on rainy day in Tokyo.
At the Men's Singles, the first seeded Lee Chong Wei advanced to semi-Finals to compete with veteran Germany, Marc Zwiebler tomorrow, while Akane Yamaguchi got the first victory against Nozomi Okuhara at the women's Singles and will have a match against a tall Chinese, Sun Yu.
The Dane, Victor Axelsen, the bronze medalist in Rio was beaten by Korean, Son Wa Ho.
At the Women's Doubles, Misaki Matsutomo & Ayaka Takahashi, the Japanese pair and Christenna Pedersen & Kamilla Rytter Juhl, the Danes, both proceeded to the semi-finals as people expected.
Please refer the match reports regarding the leading games below
The players entered tomorrow in the semi-finals are follows:
Lee Chong Wei (MAS)
Marc Zwiebler (GER))
Jan O Jorgensen (DEN)
Son Wan Ho (KOR)
Aya Ohori (JPN)
He Bingjiao (CHN)
Sun Yu (CHN)
Akane Yamaguchi (JPN)
Kim Gi Jung & Ko Sung Hyun (KOR)
Takeshi Kamura & Kiego Sonoda (JPN)
Li Junhui & Liu Yuchen (CHN)
Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (INA)
Misaki Matsutomo & Ayaka Takahashi (JPN)
Shiho Tanaka & Koharu Yonemoto (JPN)
Luo Ying & Luo Yu (CHN)
Christinna Pedersen & Kamilla Rytter Juhl (DEN)
Ko Sung Hyun & Kim Ha Na (KOR)
Peng Soon Chan & Liu Ying Goh (MAS)
Lu Kai & Huang Yaqiong (CHN)
Zheng Siwei & Chen Qingchen (CHN)
LEE Chong Wei (MAS) 2 (21-12, 21-12) 0 SHI Yuqi (CHN)
LEE Chong Wei, one of the legend of modern badminton players and 3 consecutive Silver Medalist of Olympic games, faced a young challenger, Shi Yuqi, who is the winner of Sunrise Indonesian Masters 2 weeks ago.
From the beginning of the first game, Lee placed the shuttlecocks precisely to each corners and time to time hit the strong drives and smashes to accumulate the points. The Malaysian took the lead by 8-4 before the young Chinese tried to up the speed. SHI's quick footwork once contributed to reverse the score by 10-8, but the interval was 10-11 in favor of Lee. After the game Lee said the opponent was young and new for him, so his strategy was to avoid long rallies and concentrate more the quick returns which worked very well. Lee took the first game easily by 21-12.
The second game was much dominated by Lee. Though there were long rallies between them, almost of all were eventually taken by Lee as his quick and tricky returns might have dazzled young opponent's eyes. The score moved 6-4, 11-6 19-10 and finished by 21-12.
At the interview, Lee mentioned he would like to get the title of YONEX Open Japan again in front of his lovely Japanese audience. He also added his current motivation is to get the title of World Championship next year. (s)
Son Wan Ho (KOR) 2 (21-18, 21-13) 0 Viktor Axelsen(DEN)
Although many badminton fans probably expected Axelsen, the bronze medallist of Rio Olympic, to win the game today, Son, the Korean ace of Men's Single, accomplished most spectacular victory and stepped forward to the semi-finals for tomorrow.
Every single rally drew the audience's attention to both players' performance with the beautiful placement of the shuttles on the four corners of the court. Both aces consistently returned the shuttle one after another, but Son had some difficulties of controlling the drop shots with unforced errors to the net. After the interval, they started fiercely playing with taking turns of offense and deffense, keeping the score a tie at some points 14-14, 17-17, and 18-18. However, Son closed the first game successfully at 21-18 with three consecutive points by accelerating a maximum-spurt attack.
The second game was entirely dominated by Son from start to finish. Son tempted Axelsen to hit the smashes but controlled the returns to the very front of Axelsen's court, resulting in scoring the points. In the second half of this game, Axelsen showed some misjudgement of the end line in the court and lost his concentration with more unforced errors, such as the service return and the service itself. With the great score for him 21-13, Son steadily and certainly played and won against No 2 seeded Danish player, Axelsen.
"Our head to head was a tie, I could play very well today without too much eagerness. My opponent of tomorrow is also the Danish player and the match would be tough for me, but I want to show my strong point, which is the persistent defense." Son said at the mixed zone. Axelsen also made a comment "The Korean player was very patient and physically strong. He played very well today."
Akane Yamaguchi(JPN) 2 (21-11,23-21) 0 Nozomi Okuhara(JPN)
So pity thing for the Japanese spectators was that we had this exciting match between Japanese leading young stars in this quarterfinal. In this match 19 year- old player Akane Yamaguchi, after losing 6 times, beat to Nozomi Okuhara, bronze medalist in Rio Olympics, for the first time in her life. After Yamaguchi lost to Okuhara in Rio, Yamaguchi said firmly, ' I want to be much stronger than now.' and today Yamaguchi seemed to be much more concentrated than ever.
First game started with full of applause of Japanese spectators and the game turned to be a little bit unexpected results for many people. After the first game started, Yamaguchi aggressively delivered attacking shots from the early stage, whereas Okuhara seemed to lose confidence today. After reaching 7-10, when Okuhara made an unforced receiving error, she seemed to be completely overwhelmed by Yamaguchi and from that period Okuhara let Yamaguchi to earn 13 consecutive points to 20-10 and lost the game 21-11.
However bronze medalist Okuhara regained her fighting spirit in a minute. Second game turn to be a breathtaking game and both side showed excellent defense, steep attacking smashes or net shots. No one could expect the results until the very last moment and Yamaguchi , who normally tend to be less focused in the final stage and make unforced errors, never lost her concentration and continued patient rallies. Yamaguchi finalized the game at 23-21.
In the interview after the match, Yamaguchi said ' I am so glad that I won today. In Rio, I played too aggressive that I couldn't keep my physical strength till end. This time I tried to adjust my pace by changing speed from quick to slow in order to keep my power.' Tomorrow she will play against Sun Yu(CHN).
SUN Yu (CHN) 2 （21-14, 21-9） 0 Sayaka TAKAHASHI (JPN)
The Chinese, Sun Yu, won an overwhelming victory over Sayaka Takahashi.
In the first game the score seesawed in the beginning. Takahashi's cross smashes were effective to get points, but Sun Yu placed the shuttlecock consistently to each corners. The Chinese took the lead by 11-7. After the interval Takahashi seemed to be a bit impatient and she repeated unforced errors including drop and hairpin shot mistakes. Sun Yu calmly returned the shuttlecock to the opponent who gradually lost stamina. The first game was taken by the Chinese by 21-14.
The second game was much dominated by Sun Yu. Takahashi has almost nothing to do and the tall Chinese accumulated the points by 6-4, 13-6, and the game finished by 21-9.
After the game, Sun Yu said her condition was very good and would like to get the title of this tournament. She explained by herself that she might be one of the tallest (184cm) top leveled singles woman players historically in China and she wants to be Chen Long styled player other than woman styled.
Tomorrow at the semi-finals Sun YU will compete to Akane Yamaguchi who took the first victory against Nozomi Okuhara, Bronze Medalist in Rio . (s)
HE Bingjiao (CHN) 2 (22-20, 14-21, 24-22) 1 Ratchanok Intanon (THA)
At the beginning of the 1st game, Intanon got 5 consecutive points and led to 11-7. After 11points interval, HE caught up dto 12-12 including 4 consecutive points.
After seesaw game to 20-20, HE sped her pace up and closed the game 22-20.
In the 2nd game, both players played very patiently keeping rallies with precise receives, namely they relatively did not use aggressive deciding shots.
Intanon kept leading to 20-12 including 4 and 5 consecutive points to close the game 21-14.
3rd game looked proceeding in favor of Intanon till her 17-10, but HE persistently played to catch up with Intanon to 13-18 and 17-19.
Intanon may have been confident of her victory when she got 20th point because HE's hair pin shot was rejected by net. However, HE never gave up and made cross smash to Intanon's foreside court, then next made cross smash from her backside to Intanon's back side court, and went up to 20-20.
Score went to 22-22 with both players' skillful net plays. HE made very severe hair pin shot and got 23rd point with killer smash against shallow lobbing shot which Intanon narrowly made. Finally, Intanon's driven high clear went over the back boundary of HE's court to HE's 2-1 winning.
Intanon quoted; Today, opponent's play was simply too good. I could not play my own play and I think I was inferior to opponent in mental condition
Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan (INA) 2 (21-18, 21-15) 0 Huang Kaixiang & Wang Yilyu (CHN)
Although they played very difficult game to win at the first and second stages, the winner of the Badminton World Championships of 2013 and 2015, Ahsan and Setiawan showed off their performance that excited the audience in the arena today.
The Indonesian pair made a great start with their usual offensive style, earning three consecutive points to 3-0 and five ones from 4-2 to 9-2. Although it seemed that the Indonesian pair would take this game without a hitch, the young Chinese pair kept hitting the steep smashes again and again. Also with Ahsan's some errors to the net, China approached the opponent till 18-20. However, Indonesia coolly closed the first game at 21-18.
Even in the second game, Ahsan and Setiawan used the quick and flat drive shots to prevent China's powerful attacks and mixed the disgusting drop shots to make better chance to hit the decisive smashes. Even though the Indonesian pair made some mistakes, they consistently kept offensive toward the win of this match with the powerful smashes and drive shots piercing to the ground of China's court. With sufficient fuel enough to play for tomorrow, Indonesia stepped to the semi-finals against the Chinese pair again.
"Although not satisfied with our playing of today, we successfully won the match because we kept our pace of attacking well, not being controlled by the opponent pair. This is the first supersiries tournament after the Rio Olympic, so we hope to win the title of this Yonex Open Japan 2016." Ahsan and Setiawan said at the mixed zone.
Takeshi Kamura & Keigo Sonoda(JPN) 2 (16-21, 21-15, 21-17) 1
Hiroyuki Saeki & Ryota Taohata(JPN)
For Kamura & Sonoda pair, they have won four times of five matches against Saeki & Taohata pair, and they had a pressure that they must win this game as a Japanese National Badminton Championships winner.
Through the match, Kamura & Sonoda pair played with low and speedy drive shots from both players. Saeki & Taohata pair built the game with Taohata's powerful smashes from high point and Saeki's fore-court skills.
In the first game Kamura & Sonoda pair couldn't manerver their own play because of pressure for victory, and got pushed back with opponent's powerful smashes and fore-court skills at 16-21.
Kamura & Sonoda pair was back in their play style gradually in the second game. The score went seesawed to 12-11 led by Saeki & Taohata pair. However, Kamura & Sonoda pair recovered their confidence for their play toward the end of the game. They earned the nine consecutive points from 12-15 which is biggest consecutive point of the match, and closed the game at 21-15.
As the games went by, Kamura & Sonoda pair never let the opponent lead or being leveled the game. They showed the confidence as national champions, and they grabbed the victory of the match at 21-17.
Kamura & Sonoda said, "We thought we never be allowed to lose the match as a Japanese National Badminton Championships winner, but we felt pressures on it. Therefore, we couldn't play well in the first game. We try very hard to become winner of SuperSeries for the first time in our career."
AyakaTakahashi &Misaki Matsutomo(JPN) 2 (21-11,21-8) 0 Kititharakul Jongkolphan & Prajongjai Rawinda(THA)
It was the first match for WR No.20 Thai duo to challenge WR. 1 Japanese duo.
In the first game, Kititharakul/Prajongjai patiently trailed Takahashi/Matsutomo with their fierce attacking shots until 7-7. However after Takahashi/Matsutomo picked up their pace, the game turned to be one-sided and Takahashi/Matsutomo swept Kititharakul/Prajongjai in straight games. Not only the alteration of the formation, from the one Takahashi attacks from the rear court and Matsutomo plays at the front court to the various types of formation, they showed great progress in their game strategy.
Instead of continuing fierce attacking shots, they made good use of the combination of defense and offense which made opponents unable to keep pace with them. They seemed confident of their win all through the match and advanced to semi-final.
LU Kai & HUANG Yaqiong (CHN)
2 (21-18, 21-16) 0 Joachim FISCHER NIELSEN & Christinna PEDERSEN(DEN)
In the mixed doubles circles both pair has brilliant records, thus they had a fierce competition to get the ticket of the semi-finals.
In the first game, they started with concentrations and the game seesawed for a while. But the Chinese accumulated the points by taking advantage of unguarded moment, as the Danes made some easy mistakes including the service. Lu & Huang went ahead of 11-6. After the interval the Chinese added more the points to 18-11, but Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen fought with passions to press hard to catch up. But eventually Lu & Huang took the first game by 21-18.
In the second game Lu & Huang hurried too much to win, they confessed after the game, thus the Danes were relatively easy to get the points to 11-5 at the interval. But the Chinese came back to their winning pattern, i.e. pushes by Huang and steep smashes by Lu. The style contributed to reverse the score promptly for Lu & Huang from 10-15 to 20-15. Fischer Nielsen & Pedersen disappointedly lost the second game by 16-21.
Lu & Huang mentioned at the interview, tomorrow they will compete with their teammates, Zheng Siwei & Chen Qingchen. According to them, the opponent's style is the strong driven-oriented, but they will try to do their best to keep their own winning pattern. (s)
Peng Soon Chan & Liu Ying Goh (MAS) 2 (21-16, 21-18) 0 Kim Gi Jung & Shin Seung Chan (KOR)
The champion of Mixed Doubles in the Yonex Open Japan 2012, Chan and Goh from Malaysia defeated the Korean pair, Kim and Shin, with their great performance repeatedly as having won a silver medal in Rio Olympic.
As the atmosphere of the arena was shifted for the quarterfinals with the dim light from today, both players started the first game at a slow speed to make themselves get used to the condition of the court, lights and the wind. After the interval 11-8 led by the Malaysian pair, while Kim had been on a roll with showing his bullet-like jumping smashes, Chan cleverly stopped Korea's footwork by the tricky shots going to the empty space between Korean players. The Malaysia pair took this game in a certain way at 21-16.
Kim blindsided the Malaysian pair with slow drop shots, and Shin aggressively waited and attacked return shots for the opponent', which resulted 7-1 led by Korea in the beginning of the second game. Even after the interval, the Korean pair constantly earned the points by mixing the slow drop shots and powerful smashes by Kim. However, from 17-12 led by Korea, Shin made easy mistakes several times, as returning the shuttle outside of the side lines or hitting to the net. It led the Malaysian pair to catch up with the Korean pair at 18-18, and Malaysia gained the momentum with three consecutive points to close the match at 21-18.
"We played very well today but now feel very tired. We knew that Korean pair was very aggressive, so we tried to keep the shuttle as low as possible. As tomorrow's opponent would be much stronger than today's one, we will just do our best." Chan and Goh said at the mixed zone interview.