Photo credit: Tang Shi
The day continues with good badminton stories in Tokyo. Korea’s Lee Dong Keun was up against yet another seeded player today, and then we saw a wild comeback in women’s double: 17 consecutive points closed the match!
First men’s single of the day was the Korean surprise from yesterday, Lee Dong Keun who is ranked 33 in the world, against 7-seeded Kidambi Srikanth from India. Lee defeated his compatriot Son Wan Ho comfortably in straight games to advance to the quarterfinal while the Indian passed by Wong Wing Ki Vincent from Hong Kong.
The two gentlemen delivered an intense, close and long match on court 2. When we passed the first hour nothing was settled yet. It was the Indian favorite who started off best and leading most of the way through first game. At 19-19 it could go both ways though but Srikanth managed to bag the game winning the two next points.
In second game things got turned upside down and Lee Dong Keun basically took away all excitement from the game as he won 7 consecutive points and brought himself to a lead of 12-5. Or so it would seem. Kidambi slowly reduced the gap to two points but eventually we needed a third game anyway after 21-16 for the Korean.
79 minutes of intense play
And once again the two gentlemen delivered a close and intense battle in the decisive game. As we approached 80 minutes of play it was the 33-ranked Korean who drew the longest straw. Lee won 21-18 and made it into the semifinal, one of his best results ever.
Fun fact: There has only been two different nationalities on court when Lee Dong Keun played this week – Korean and Indian. Lee defeated Sameer Verma in first round, compatriot Son Wan Ho in second, and Kidambi Srikanth today.
New greatest comeback of the week
It was a very different story in two of the other matches in the morning, one women’s double and one mixed double. These two matches were shorter in total than the men’s single between Lee and Srikanth.
First the top seeded Japanese women’s double, Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota, were up against Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai from Thailand, seeded 6. The Thais won the last encounter between the two pairs – on home ground at Thailand Open in July. Today they weren’t left many chances to repeat this though.
With an unbelievable 17 consecutive points to finish second game – more than the comeback of the day from yesterday – Fukushima and Hirota won the match with 21-12 21-7 leaving Kititharakul and Prajongjai with something to think about. The Thais really have to step up next time they go on court.
China already sure to get bronze
In the all-Chinese mixed double where we had to find tomorrow’s opponents to Chan Peng Soon ad Goh Liu Ying from Malaysia, it only took 24 minutes to find the winners. The World Champions Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong were up against former World Champion Zhang Nan and his young partner Li Yinhui.
And there was really never any doubt who would win the match. Zheng and Huang quickly went up 6-0 and 11-4 in first game and eventually bagged it 21-10. In second game there was only some artificial excitement up to 10-10 before the World Champions pulled away with 7 consecutive points. Zheng and Huang won 21-13 and will be the ones to try and stop the Malaysians tomorrow.
Japan as sure as China; bronze is a minimum
The host nation was already sure to get minimum one bronze medal no matter how the results would be today. Another quarterfinal in mixed double was between two Japanese pairs, Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino (13) and Takuro Hoki/Koharu Yonemoto (99).
It was the higher ranked pair that could leave the court with their arms raised in joy. At no point were Watanabe and Higashino lacking behind during the match that was over in 37 minutes. They won as easily as 21-9 21-12 and can now sit back and relax while Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping, China, and Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lei, Malaysia, decide who will face the Japanese in the semifinal tomorrow.
MS: Lee Dong Keun, Korea vs. Kidambi Srikanth, India (7) 19-21 21-16 21-18
Total point score: 61-55
Total points played: 116
Length of match: 79 min
Average points per minute: 1.47
Average seconds per point: 40.86 sec
WD: Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota, Japan (1) vs. Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai, Thailand (6) 21-12 21-7
Total point score: 42-19
Total points played: 61
Length of match: 47 min
Average points per minute: 1.30
Average seconds per point: 46.23 sec
XD: Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong, China (1) vs. Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui, China (5) 21-10 21-13
Total point score: 42-23
Total points played: 65
Length of match: 24 min
Average points per minute: 2.71
Average seconds per point: 22.15 sec
XD: Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino, Japan vs. Takuro Hoki/Koharu Yonemoto, Japan 21-9 21-12
Total point score: 42-21
Total points played: 63
Length of match: 37 min
Average points per minute: 1.70
Average seconds per point: 35.24 sec
Stay tuned! There are more Japan Open updates on the way…