Kenichi Tago’s miserable form continued into his home event as he crashed out in the Men’s Singles opening qualifying round of the Yonex Open Japan 2015 today.
Not so long ago, Tago (featured image) was among the challengers for the No.1 spot. Last year’s Thomas Cup hero, a runner-up at the Yonex Open Japan in 2013, Tago was left searching for answers after his 21-12 12-21 21-18 loss to Korea’s Lee Dong Keun.
Although he offered a few glimpses of his earlier speed and attacking form, but his overall performance wasn’t good enough to help him past his Korean opponent.
“I had to win it in straight games, but I lost the first game and it was difficult,” said Tago.
“I was focussed for this match, but I could not perform well. I will have to practice harder. I need to regain confidence. I was weak mentally; I need to be stronger at heart. I got the big title at the Thomas Cup a year ago, but I have to refocus now.”
Tago’s vanquisher went on to make the main draw after surviving another three game match in the second qualifying round. Lee held his nerve to beat Jeon Hyeok Jin 23-21 14-21 21-19 and will face India’s Sai Praneeth in the first round.
Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei booked his first round place with ease, downing Scotland’s Alistair Casey 21-3 21-13 and Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee 21-10 21-12. The other Men’s Singles qualifiers were Indonesia’s Ihsan Maulana Mustofa and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei.
Japan proved their depth in Women’s Singles, with the hosts claiming all four qualifying spots. Kana Ito, Ayumi Mine, Saena Kawakami (left) and Moe Araki progressed into the main draw, where they will join seven of their compatriots. Vietnam Open champion Kawakami was pushed to three games in both her matches: against Indonesia’s Lyanny Alessandra Mainaky (18-21 21-10 21-9) and compatriot Aya Ohori (16-21 21-14 21-16).
Meanwhile, Women’s Singles top seed Carolina Marin pronounced herself ready to overturn her Indonesia Open loss to local hope Yui Hashimoto in the first round tomorrow.
“Last time wasn’t my best match, I was tired after the Australian Open,” the World champion said.
“After winning the World Championships I didn’t have a vacation; I spent a day in Madrid with the media and then got back to training. I’m looking forward to playing Hashimoto.”
In Men’s Doubles, Japan’s Shintaro Ikeda bid farewell to his international career after he and Kazuaki Oshima ran into Thailand’s Puavaranukroh Dechapol/Kedren Kittinupong (below) in the second qualifying round, 16-21 21-10 21-14.
Hiroyuki Saeki/Ryota Taohata (Japan), Liao Min Chun/Tseng Min Hao (Chinese Taipei) and Markis Kido/Agripinna Prima Rahmanto Putra (Indonesia) were the other qualifiers.
Women’s Doubles too saw one Japanese pair qualify. Rira Kawashima/Saori Ozaki survived a close call against compatriots Asumi Kugo/Megumi Yokoyama, 19-21 23-21 21-8, to join Thailand’s Chaladchalam Chayanit/Phataimas Muenwong and Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan and Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee into the main draw.
In Mixed Doubles, Japan’s Sudirman Cup heroes Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara (below) ensured their place in the main draw with a 21-17 21-15 result over compatriots Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino. Kazuno/Kurihara will take on Korea’s Kim Gi Jung/Shin Seung Chan in the first round.
Other qualifiers included Korea’s Yoo Yeon Seong/Chang Ye Na and Choi Solgyu/Eom Hye Won, and Japan’s Akira Koga/Koharu Yonemoto.
For results, click here.