|Jan O. Jorgensen (DEN)||VS||Lee Dong Keun (KOR)|
Danish No. 3 seed Jan O. Jorgensen (World No. 5) goes head-to-head against Korean Lee Dong Keun (World No. 16) in round 2.
The key to this match lies in how Jorgensen’s offensive style clashes with Dong Keun’s defensive play. It will be interesting to see how this match will unfold between these completely opposite players. While Jorgensen is undefeated against the Korean in 6 matches, Dong Keun is known for his strong tenacity, and a tendency to force that third game. “It’s always tough against him, and this match will probably be a tiring one,” commented Jorgensen prior to the match.
“I won’t be drawn in by Jorgensen’s long rallies,” spoke Dong Keun, “How I handle his rallies will be the key to winning the match. This time, I want to win.”
Will Jorgensen’s offensive play prevail, or will Dong Keun win with his strong defense?
Fun Match Facts
Jan O. Jorgensen’s Japanese-Inspired Tattoo
Known for his tattoos, Jorgensen has a very Japanese-inspired tattoo on his right leg. Drawn on his leg is a Japanese “daruma”—originally a symbol of Zen Buddhism. Jorgensen said he got the tattoo because he has once practiced Zen meditation himself.
The “daruma” is known to grant someone’s wish when both eyes are drawn in. The one on Jorgensen’s leg only has one eye filled. “I will draw it in when my dream is fulfilled. What is my dream? That’s a secret (laughs).”
Fun Match Facts
Lee Dong Keun and His Grip
Dong Keun’s fingers are surprisingly thin, long, and beautiful. “It’s because I played piano,” he said. With fingers like this, one would think his grip is thick, but it’s surprisingly thin.
“I used to use a thicker grip, but I found thinner grips allow for better control,” said the Korean. Keep your eyes on Dong Keun and his grip!
|Nozomi Okuhara (JPN)||VS||Chen Yufei (CHN)|
Last year, Nozomi Okuhara came back to her first YONEX OPEN JAPAN in three years after an injury. She would also win it. From then on she continued to excel, and very recently earned the Bronze Medal for her country at the Rio Olympic Games. She heads into tomorrow with strong feelings of gratitude.
She faces 19-year-old Chen Yufei from China. “Her moves are fast,” commented Okuhara after facing the Chinese two years ago. After undergoing a long period of tough training, Chen has reached a ranking of World No. 46. “I want to figure out her playstyle from the beginning, and use that as my chance to win,” commented Okuhara in the face of her improved opponent.
While not at her pre-Olympic peak, Okuhara has this to say, “I will give the 100% that I have that day!” Be sure to keep your eyes out for Okuhara, as she gives her 100% for the next day of YONEX OPEN JAPAN.
|Ratchanok Intanon (THA)||VS||Minatsu Mitani (JPN)|
In 2013, Ratchanok Intanon (World No. 5) won the BWF World Championships at 18 years old. Now, she is 21 years old, and will face 2013 Japanese National Badminton Championships champion Minatsu Mitani (World No. 19) in round 2.
Intanon won three Superseries titles this year, and was one of the players at the top of the list to win the Olympic Gold Medal. However, she lost to Japanese Akane Yamaguchi, and lost her dream of winning the Gold. But now, she’s renewed her focus with a new goal in mind. “While I was a little down after the Olympics, I now have new goals: Become World No. 1 and win at the BWF World Superseries Finals,” spoke the 21-year-old.
The Thai excels on the court with quick and keen footwork, and picks up point after point with sharp cuts. Meanwhile, Mitani has a knack for picking up the shuttle, and sucks opponents into her aggressive, long rallies.
While Intanon has mentioned not being good with long rallies, Mitani plans to “be tenacious.” “I won’t give up tomorrow,” she exclaimed, eyes set on victory. Mitani managed to beat Intanon in the 2014 World Championships. Will she be able to do the same in round 2?
|Sayaka Takahashi (JPN)||VS||Sayaka Sato (JPN)|
The second round will see a huge clash of smashes between Japanese players Sayaka Takahashi and Sayaka Sato. In October of last year, Takahashi seriously injured her knee, and this tournament marks her first international competition in 11 months. She’s broken through the qualifiers, and now through the first round.
At World No. 138 and 168 cm tall, the left-handed Takahashi prides herself on her offensive power. While she was out of the game she considered quitting, but came back to badminton with a renewed positive outlook at this year’s YONEX OPEN JAPAN. “I will get my ‘Gold’ at this year’s YONEX OPEN JAPAN,” she exclaimed.
Meanwhile, Sato comes into YONEX OPEN JAPAN with bitter regrets. After competing at the London Olympics, she unfortunately missed her chance to enter her second Olympic games in Rio, overtaken by teammates Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi.
“While I am happy Japan got Olympic medals, I do regret not getting my own. After much hard training, I will crush this regret at YONEX OPEN JAPAN,” she spoke. These two attackers will go at each other in a battle of smashes in round 2. May the best smash win!
|Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (MAS)||VS||Huang Kaixiang/Wang Yilyu (CHN)|
Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong (World No. 9) are back and ready for battle after enjoying well-deserved celebration after their Olympic Silver Medal in Rio.
“We took a break after the Olympics, and we’re probably at about 60% or 70% now,” spoke the 27-year-old pair. They took down their Thai opponents in the first round at an overwhelming 21-12 21-7, and are steadily getting back into the swing of competition.
This pair’s kinetic and clever attacks are what earned them their Olympic Medal. Tan is resolute at net with his attacks, followed by Goh’s strong hits to seal victory. All of this combined with amazing speed makes them the perfect example of a men’s doubles team.
They go up against the newly formed Chinese pair of Huang Kaixiang and Wang Yilyu in round 2. The pair of 20 and 21 has great confidence against the Olympic Medalists, “Our strength is our youth! We will go in with pure speed. The fact that our opponents are Olympic Medalists is no pressure at all.”
Needless to say, a frenzied flurry of high-speed badminton is expected between these two teams in round 2.
|Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsutomo (JPN)||VS||Chiang Kai Hsin/Hung Shih Han (TPE)|
After winning the Olympic Gold with the pride of their nation strong in their hearts, Ayaka Takashi and Misaki Matsutomo triumphantly return to their home nation for YONEX OPEN JAPAN. These two are seeded at No. 1 for this tournament, and have their first match in round 2. Fans in the stadium will be able to see true World No. 1 strength starting tomorrow.
They meet the 26-year-old World No. 191 pair of Chiang Kai Hsin and Hung Shih Han in round 2. This pair from Chinese Taipei made it past the first round after defeating young local hopes Minami Kawashima and Natsumi Uesugi, 21-19 21-15.
It is very difficult to imagine this pair from Chinese Taipei as a serious threat to Gold Medalists Takahashi and Matsutomo. However, Chiang and Hung had this to say, “We want to get stronger. We want to learn more.” They are certain to keep their attacks strong, and seeing how they go up against the Olympic Gold Medalists will be worth watching.
|Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara (JPN)||VS||Kim Gi Jung/Shin Seung Chan (KOR)|
The Japanese mixed doubles pair of Kenta Kazuno and Ayane Kurihara (World No. 14) make their first appearance in round 2 after their opponents withdrew in round 1. Paired since last year, the duo made it to Rio after just a year and half of playing together, and reached 5th place at the tournament.
The pair looked back at last year’s YONEX OPEN JAPAN, where they lost in the first round, “We had just paired up, so our combos were all over the place, but this year we made it to the Olympics! We have a good year of experience under our belts, and want our fans to see that.”
The opponents they lost to in round 1 last year are none other than their round 2 opponents this year: Kim Gi Jung and Shin Seung Chan. The pair is at World No. 23 now, and made it to the semifinals last year.
Will the Japanese pair be able to take down their opponents this time around? Kazuno, Kurihara, and all the local fans want to know.