Photo credit: Tang Shi
During the next couple of days many of the incoming flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport will have top shuttlers on board. After a period with major Championships it’s once again time for an “ordinary” tournament, Japan Open, which is played from 11-16 September.
Japan Open is an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament with a total prize money of USD 700,000. Winners don’t take it all – but they will take USD 49,000 in the single categories and USD 51,800 per pair in the double categories. Here we are taking a preview of the mixed double draw.
Title holders from 2017 are seeded 2 in this year’s event; Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping from China. They are drawn against Satwiksairaj and Ashwini Ponnappa from India and should be able to overcome the Indian pair. They are looking at a potential quarterfinal against 6th seeded Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai from Malaysia, however only if they manage to pass by Danes Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Alexandra Bøje in first round and either a Chinese or a Hong Kong pair in second.
Top seeded again but with new partner
Top seeds this year are Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong; Huang was also top seeded last year when she paired with Lu Kai but the two lost in the quarterfinal against Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping. Zheng and Huang have a first round match against Debby Susanto, who lost the semifinal with Praveen Jordan last year, and Ricky Karandasuwardi. The draw has given the top seeded duo a potential quarterfinal against compatriots Zhang Nan and Li Yinhui. The strong Thai pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai must be defeated in second round first though if they all manage to win their first round matches.
Will we get that Olympic final rematch now?
At the recent Asian Games many mixed double fans were looking forward to the potential rematch of the Olympic final from 2016 but sadly this never became a reality as one pair lost the round before. Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana, who will soon stop her career, are seeded 3 and if they and Malaysians Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying both win their first rounds, the rematch of the Olympic final is a done deal.
The Indonesians have a 10-1 head-to-head statistics with the Malaysians and also won the last 6 encounters. But we know that Chan and Goh will do absolutely everything to get their second victory against the legendary Indonesian duo. First however, Ahmad and Natsir have a match against last year’s semifinalist Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Reddy N. Sikki from India.
Just one seeded pair from Europe
Runners-up at the Asian Games, Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet from Hong Kong, are seeded 4 and will most likely face another Asian pair in the quarterfinal. That is, if things go as assumed, of course. Takuro Hoki, who was runner-up in 2017 with Sayaka Hirota, partners up with Koharu Yonemoto this year and they have an interesting match against Danes Niclas Nøhr and Sara Thygesen in first round; the Danes just returned home with the title from Spain Masters in their bags. The winner of this match is likely to face 8th seeded Indonesians Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja in second round, and only then we know who is in the quarterfinal against – perhaps – the 4th seeded Hongkongers.
The only seeded mixed double pair, which is not Asian, is England’s married couple, Chris and Gabrielle Adcock. Seeded 7 they face Lu Kai and Chen Lu in first round and the winner will be up against either Dutch duo Robin Tabeling and Cheryl Seinen or Indonesians Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti in second round.
Results from Japan Open 2017:
Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping, China vs. Takuro Hoki/Sayaka Hirota, Japan 21-13 21-8
Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping, China vs. Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto, Indonesia 21-14 21-19
Takuro Hoki/Sayaka Hirota, Japan vs. Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Reddy N. Sikki, India 14-21 21-15 21-19
Results from Japan Open 2016:
Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen, China vs. Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na, Korea 21-10 21-15
Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen, China vs. Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong, China 21-11 21-19
Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na, Korea vs. Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying, Malaysia 21-14 21-18
Results from Japan Open 2015:
Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen, Denmark vs. Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei, China 17-21 21-18 23-21
Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen, Denmark vs. Kim Gi Jung/Shin Seung Chan, Korea 21-19 21-16
Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei, China vs. Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na, Korea 21-18 21-17