Photo credit: Tang Shi
We were spoiled with an excellent mixed double from the early morning as the quarterfinals of Japan Open kicked off today. In a close match it was impossible to predict who would advance to the semifinals tomorrow.
There was limited noise and atmosphere in Musashino Forest Sport Plaza when the two unseeded pairs from Malaysia and Indonesia kicked off today’s quarterfinals at Japan Open. But those spectators who had decided to show up later missed a portion of really good mixed double.
First match of the day was between on one side the runners-up from the 2016 Olympics, Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying from Malaysia. After some long periods with severe injuries for Goh the two have slowly but steadily climbed back up to a spot as number 8 on the world ranking. On the other side of the net we found the Indonesians Praveen Jordan, All England Champion from 2016, and Melati Daeva Oktavianti, World Junior Champion from 2012. So it was without doubt four players who knew what it was all about.
Scoring points from behind the back
And what a match the four pulled up! The Indonesians are currently ranked 23 in the world but were leading 2-0 head-to-head against the Malaysian duo. It was obvious that Chan and Goh wanted to improve that statistics but they were actually off to a bad start in all games. Lacking behind up to 10-12 Chan and Goh first got in front when they won four consecutive points and got control of the game. They bagged first game with a two point margin of 21-19.
Second game was another very close affair where Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti were in control until the Malaysians caught up with them again at 10-10. Goh Liu Ying proved several times why she is considered the best net player in the world and at 14-14 she totally tricked the opponents by scoring a beautiful point from behind her back and crosswise over the net.
The Indonesians however once again took the lead but only to see Chan and Goh coming back again at 20-20. But on their fourth game point Jordan and Oktavianti won second game and forced the match into a third decisive game.
Amazing defense helped securing the victory
This was if possible an even closer fight, at least up to 16-16 where you couldn’t predict which way the victory would go. Then it seemed that Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying just added a few more percent to their game and the Indonesians didn’t have the weapon against that. The Malaysians took the tickets for the semifinal on their first match point and won the final game 21-16. Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti will have to wait another four days for their next important match at China Open next week.
Especially Goh Liu Ying, the girl who suffered from so many injuries, pulled up some a great match with some amazing defensive saves of Praveen Jordan’s hard smashes. It is great to see the Malaysian top player back at the level where she definitely belongs.
Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying, Malaysia vs. Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti, Indonesia 21-19 20-22 21-17
Total point score: 62-58
Total points played: 120
Length of match: 68 min
Average points per minute: 1.76
Average seconds per point: 34.00 sec
Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying will be facing the winners of the all-Chinese battle, Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong vs. Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui, in the semifinal tomorrow.
Stay tuned! There are more Japan Open updates on the way…