|Lee Chong Wei (MAS)||VS||Marc Zwiebler (GER)|
Head-to-Head: Lee Chong Wei Leads 12-0
Veterans Faceoff in Semifinal
The YONEX OPEN JAPAN quarterfinals saw Lee Chong Wei secure a solid win over China's young hope, while Marc Zwiebler pulled off an upset against one of the world's top Indian players. These veterans at 33 and 32 are now into the semifinals.
Chong Wei has the overwhelming lead head-to-head over Zwiebler at12-1. "We both know our play styles very well," spoke Chong Wei, "Like every day this week, I will prepare my best I can for the next match."
The chance for either player's victory lies in their opposing playstyles. Chong Wei is known for his super-human speed and sharp shots, while Zwiebler is known for his accurate rallies, creating chance to attack. Of course what is most impressive about these two veterans is their desire to remain active in competition.
With three consecutive Olympic Silver Medals, Chong Wei was never able to grasp Gold. Meanwhile, Zwiebler couldn't even break into the knockout stage. They are both players with big regrets on their shoulders, and are partners who have vowed to move forward together.
How have these two veterans managed to stay at the top? Watch tomorrow to find out.
|Jan O. Jorgensen (DEN)||VS||Son Wan Ho (KOR)|
Head-to-Head: Son Wan Ho Leads 3-2
Offensive and Defensive Veterans Battle it Out
The semifinal pits two top-level veterans against each other in a battle of offensive and defensive play styles. Any player could win this match.
While Son Wan Ho (World No. 8) leads 3-2 head-to-head, Jan O. Jorgensen (World No. 5) won in their most recent encounter. They are both 28, and have both been raised on the same generation of badminton.
"Jan's an attacker," spoke Son Wan Ho of the player's opposing styles, "He's good at drives, so I have to be careful out there." When speaking about himself, Son Wan Ho explains, "I am all about my defiance. Tomorrow, while keeping strong defense, I will find the chance to attack."
This semifinal will be a match-up of Korean's traditional defensive style and the very European attack-centric style. Don't miss it!
|Akane Yamaguchi (JPN)||VS||Sun Yu (CHN)|
Head-to-Head: Both Tied 1-1
Yamaguchi Goes up Against China's New Ace
In the quarterfinal, Akane Yamaguchi (World No. 12) made it past senior teammate Nozomi Okuhara, breaking streak of 6 loses. After the match, Okuhara said to her younger teammate, "Do your best out there."
"Yes, I will" replied Yamaguchi.
Her opponent in the semifinal is China's Sun Yu. After the retirements of China's big female players after the Olympics, she is China's new ace at World No. 11. What is most shocking about this matchup is the difference in both players' height. Akane stands at 156cm while Yu is 184cm—a difference of 28cm.
"I want to be careful of the high shuttles," spoke Akane. "I lost in our most recent meeting, so this time I want to do my best to win."
"Akane played at the Olympics, and is at a higher level than I am," spoke Sun Yu. "Tomorrow, I will just play at my best."
Will tomorrow's match be a preview of a heated meetup at the Tokyo Olympics? Watch and find out.
Fun Match Facts
The Super-Tall 184cm Sun Yu
While China has seen many incredible players, there are few who approach the height of Sun Yu. "I don't know how I feel about that question," she said when asked about her height compared to other Chinese players, "That said, I have a feeling I am very tall compared to other Chinese players." While there are many Chinese players who stand tall, there are very few at 184.
"This has nothing to do with height, but I look up to Chen Long (Olympic Gold Medalist). I like how he works his way out of any tough situation."
|He Bingjiao (CHN)||VS||Aya Ohori (JPN)|
Head-to-Head: He Bingjiao leads 3-1
Battle of the 19-Year-Olds
China's He Bingjiao (World No. 15) and Japan's Aya Ohori (World No. 42) are both 19, and both pegged as their nation's next aces. They meet in the semifinal.
Bingjiao defeated 2013 World Champion Ratchanok Intanon in the quarterfinal. Turning the match around with her receive feints and strong jumping attacks, she made it into the semifinal. "I want to win this time, and create new legends like my senior team mates," spoke Bingjiao. When asked about her opponent, Bingjiao said, "Aya is cute, but on the court her attacks are harsh, and her expressions are scary. I think I'm the nicer looking one on court! (laughs)"
Meanwhile, Ohori had this to say after beating teammate Mine, "I've been wanting to win against a seeded player this tournament. I have had chances in the past, but I couldn't deliver on them. Rather than follow around my opponent, I want control the court with my own plays tomorrow."
Both of these players are pegged as the next Gold Medalists, so their match will certainly be a taste of the fresh, new generation of badminton.
|Kim Gi Jung/Ko Sung Hyun (KOR)||VS||Keigo Sonoda/Takeshi Kamura (JPN)|
Japan Clashes with Korea in Men's Doubles Semifinal
"We will become the next Japanese aces," spoke Japanese National Badminton Championships winners Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda (World No. 16). They made it past their fellow Japanese teammates in the quarterfinal, and meet Korean pair Kim Gi Jung and Ko Sung Hyun in the semifinal.
Kim and Ko are an unusual pair, and usual team up with other players. Kim is No. 2 with his main partner, and Ko stands at No. 5. They both stand at the top 10 with their respective partners, so it goes without saying that they have high potential.
The Japanese pair of Kamura and Sonoda will take on the Korean pair with what they can do best—low altitude badminton. Their style relies on them not sending the shuttle to high over the net. Paired with each other since their first year of high school, they plan to show the Korean's the special sauce they have perfecting for the past 12 years.
|Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (INA)||VS||Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen (CHN)|
Head-to-Head: Li/Liu Lead 3-2
The Super-Tall Chinese Pair Take on The World Champions
China has a pair of giants competing in men's doubles. Meet Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen—the Chinese men's doubles pair that stands at 195cm and 192cm respectively. At age 21, they are a fierce pair to contend with.
The Chinese pair was victorious at the 2013 BWF World Junior Championships, and plan to get a third straight Gold Medal for China in men's doubles at the Tokyo Olympics. They face Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in the semifinal—world champions. The said, the Chinese pair has the edge on them 3-2 head-to-head.
It is certain that the Chinese pair will go into the semifinal with super-angled and super-powered smashes. The manner in which the Indonesians will take on this challenge is work checking out.
|Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsutomo (JPN)||VS||Shiho Tanaka Koharu Yonemoto (JPN)|
Head-to-Head: Takashi/Matsutomo Lead 1-0
Japan Meets Japan in Semifinal
Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto (World No. 35) only officialy paired up in December of 2014, and have made it to the semifinals of YONEX OPEN JAPAN. Making it this far in a Superseries is a first for the Japanese pair. It goes without saying that they have the confidence to go further.
Meeting them in the semifinal are Olympic Gold Medalists Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo. While the two pairs have only met once in international competition, Yonemoto is the same age as the Gold Medal-winning pair, and has faced them "more times than I can count" in during their high school years.
While Tanaka and Yonemoto have met both success and failure, they look forward to meeting Gold Medalists Takahashi and Matsutomo in the semifinal. "We just want to play our game," said the Gold Medalists when asked about their semifinal match. With that confidence, we can count on the two Japanese medalists not to disappoint.
|Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (DEN)||VS||Luo Ying/Luo Yu(CHN)|
Head-to-Head: Luo/Luo Lead 3-2
Danish Pair Gets Post-Olympic Revenge
Olympic Silver Medalists Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl have made steady progress into the semifinal, and meet the Chinese twin pair of Luo Ying and Luo Yu.
"I can' t tell who's who!" exclaimed Rytter Juhl, "That's why we check to see if they are wearing different colored shoes, or something like that (laughs)." In the Olympic group stage, the Danish pair suffered a straight loss to the Chinese pair. While Luo and Luo didn't make it to the knockout stage, they are a pair the Danes have some unfinished business with.
The women's doubles semifinal will be a matchup of strong feelings, and certainly not one to miss.
|Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na (KOR)||VS||Peng Soon Chan/Liu Ying Goh (MAS)|
Head-to-Head: Tied 2-2
World No. 1 Pair Clashes With Olympic Bronze Medalists
The World No. 1 Korean pair of Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na go head to head against Olympic Bronze Medalists Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Go (World No. 8) of Malaysia. This is no doubt one of the best matchups of the tournament.
While Chan and Go have mentioned post-Olympic fatigue, the pair of 8 years wants to win. "We have confidence in how we change up roles on court," said the Malaysian pair. Meanwhile, the Korean pair of Ko and Kim are known for their tenacity by the net, and their strong, match-winning hits. Additionally, Ko has been doing weight training for the past 5 years, and has put on 5kg of muscle. There is no doubt a shuttle hit with that force will hit hard.
"We will play as hard as we can tomorrow. We want another win after four years," spoke Go.