Photo credit: Tang Shi
After Lin Dan was wiped out from Japan Open by local hero Kento Momota, it was up to the Olympic Champion Chen Long to secure Chinese success in men’s single. Things did not go as planned…
Chen Long had a very favorable draw to this year’s Japan Open as several of his strongest enemies were drawn in the opposite half than him. With Shi Yuqi’s (2) early exit in first round, Son Wan Ho (4) being eliminated yesterday, and Kidambi Srikanth (7) losing today, the road to the final was clear for the 6-seeded sympathetic Chinese.
First hurdle was Khosit Phetpradab from Thailand who was the one to eliminate Shi Yuqi in first round. The Thai has shown a high level of badminton this week and he continued doing so in today’s quarterfinal against Chen Long. Despite being down 0-3 head-to-head with the Olympic Champion, Phetpradab went on court believing that today was the day things would be changed.
Best result of the year
It looked more like 4-0 instead of 3-1 for quite some time in first game though. Chen Long was in control and had a comfortable lead of 17-11 when things suddenly was turned around. With an amazing 9-point streak Khosit Phetpradab took over the game, which he also closed moments later on his first game point.
Then followed a second game where Chen Long surely knew he had to maintain focus all the way and the two delivered a very close match. The Thai went on a 5-point lead at 18-13 and things looked over. But you must never count Chen Long out; the strong Chinese came back at 20-20 and got a game point one rally later.
He failed to convert it into something useful though as it was Khosit Phetpradab who could celebrate his entry to the semifinal as he won 24-22. It took the 24-year old Thai 62 minutes to secure himself this year’s best result. He did reach the semifinals as well at US Open in June though but Japan Open is just a much bigger tournament.
An interesting fact is that it was Lee Dong Keun from Korea who defeated Phetpradab in the semifinal at US Open. That match lasted 89 minutes and finished 21-18 in third game for the Korean. Lee won the title in USA and the two meet each other again in the semifinal tomorrow.
The results from this week will surely do something positive to Phetpradab’s world ranking as number 26.
One in and one out for Malaysia
The last mixed double of the day was Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping from China (2) against Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai from Malaysia (6). Only first game turned out to be really interesting in this match. It was the Malaysians who were in the lead head-to-head; both previous encounters were decided in three close games in favor of Goh and Shevon.
First game also indicated that today would be a close match. The two pairs followed each other most of the way until Wang and Huang bagged first game 21-18. In second game it seemed there was only one pair on court. The excitement disappeared from the match and after just 37 minutes the Chinese had won second game 21-6. That leaves Malaysia with one win and one loss in today’s quarterfinals.
Minions in trouble
The world’s number 1 in men’s double, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo from Indonesia, were not expected to have any problems in advancing to the semifinals tomorrow. The Asian Games Champions were up against Dutch duo Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling who eliminated Denmark’s Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in three games yesterday.
The Indonesians – often referred to as the Minions – were big favorites against the Dutchmen who rank 34 in the world. Maas and Tabeling surely feared the worst as the Indonesians went to interval at 11-1 after just few minutes of playing. This could become really nasty if they didn’t step up now.
Losing first game 10-21 stepping up was exactly what Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling did in second. Maybe Gideon and Sukamuljo took things a bit too easy in second game but facts is that the Europeans were leading all the way to secure a third game as they won 21-17. Now it was the Indonesians who had to step up and get back into the game.
Third game was extremely close up to 12-12. Moments later things were as good as decided when Gideon and Sukamuljo went on 18-12 and they had no problems in closing the match 21-14. Later today we will find out if they are going to face Japanese or Chinese opponents in the semifinal tomorrow.
MS: Khosit Phetpradab, Thailand vs. Chen Long, China (6) 21-19 24-22
Total point score: 45-41
Total points played: 86
Length of match: 62 min
Average points per minute: 1.39
Average seconds per point: 43.26 sec
Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping, China (2) vs. Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai, Malaysia (6) 21-18 21-6
Total point score: 42-24
Total points played: 66
Length of match: 37 min
Average points per minute: 1.78
Average seconds per point: 33.64 sec
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, Indonesia (1) vs. Jelle Maas/Robin Tabeling, Netherlands 21-10 17-21 21-14
Total point score: 59-45
Total points played: 104
Length of match: 49 min
Average points per minute: 2.12
Average seconds per point: 28.27 sec
Stay tuned! There are more Japan Open updates on the way…