Photo credit: Tang Shi
Japan Open started at 10 AM local time with World Champion, favorite and local hero Kento Momota playing on the TV court. But it was another favorite that caught attention as he failed to qualify for second round.
China’s runner-up at the World Championships, Shi Yuqi, was seeded second in this year’s Japan Open. The strong Chinese was obviously expected to go very far in the tournament but Khosit Phetpradab from Thailand wanted it differently.
The two had met each other one time before, at the Asian Championships in 2017 where Shi Yuqi secured himself a very comfortable win in straight games. The Chinese is ranked 2 on the world ranking against Phetpradab’s ranking as 26. The Chinese silver medalist from the World Championships last month was big favorite today.
First game showed two players who both wanted it today. Shi Yuqi and Khosit Phetpradab followed each other in a close match up to 13-13 until the Thai with 6 consecutive points brought himself in a position where he could close the first game.
Comeback from both sides
Shi Yuqi came out to second game as a completely different player and he showed why he is one of the favorites to reach the final. He quickly took the lead with 6-0 and also 12-4 and things began to look like a walk in the park for the strong Chinese.
But moments later it was all even again. Phetpradab had slowly but steadily climbed back into the game and equalized the score at 19-19. Another 6 point streak helped the Thai to get back in second game and after a few intense rallies he closed the match on his fourth match point.
Khosit Phetpradab won 21-18 22-20 and is ready for Mark Caljouw from the Netherlands in second round. The Dutchman eliminated Wang Tzu Wei from Chinese Taipei in straight games as well. Shi Yuqi on the other hand can go back to China and start preparing for a better result on home ground next week when China Open kicks off.
Stay tuned! There are more Japan Open updates on the way…