Japan’s Aya Ohori claimed her career’s most memorable win at the China Masters 2017 yesterday, helping her stake a strong claim for World Championships qualification.
At the start of the Grand Prix Gold event in Changzhou (the final qualifying event for the TOTAL BWF World Championships), Ohori was sixth in line among the Japanese Women’s Singles contenders for a qualification place. A member association can field three entries if all three are within the top 24 of the Race to Glasgow rankings. At No.19, Ohori was behind compatriots Akane Yamaguchi (No.5), Nozomi Okuhara (No.9), Sayaka Sato (No.16), Ayumi Mine (No.17) and Minatsu Mitani (No.18). Except Mine and Ohori, none of the other Japanese were in the China Masters draw.
Mine’s defeat in the opening round opened up the path for Ohori (featured image), and she surged into the final without dropping a game against a succession of young Chinese players. She had her first setback when she dropped the second game against compatriot Saena Kawakami in the final, but she rebounded to clinch the title 21-9 9-21 21-18. The 7000 points from winning the title should help her leapfrog Mitani, Mine and Sato into third place among the Japanese Women’s Singles qualifiers.
Kawakami also had a memorable event, beating World Junior champion Chen Yufei (China) in the quarter-finals and another young Chinese, Cai Yanyan, in the semi-finals.
In Men’s Singles, Tian Houwei overcame compatriot Qiao Bin 21-15 15-21 21-16, helping him climb to second place among the Chinese qualifiers on the Race to Glasgow rankings.
Interestingly, five-time World champion Lin Dan also staked his claim for World Championships qualification by making the semi-finals of the China Masters (he lost to Qiao Bin in three games). Lin’s semi-final performance gave him sufficient points to leap ahead of World and Olympic champion Chen Long into third spot among the Chinese qualifiers.
An interesting scenario played out in Men’s Doubles. Chinese contenders Huang Kaixiang/Wang Yilyu and Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng, separated by just 880 points at the start of the event and in the race for third qualification place, both fell in the quarter-finals. Zhang/Liu fell at the hands of Indonesia/Malaysia combination Hendra Setiawan/Tan Boon Heong 19-21 21-16 21-14. Huang/Wang lost a close match to Indonesia’s Berry Angriawan/Hardianto Hardianto 21-17 14-21 23-21, but their third place was assured after the loss of their compatriots.
The title was won by Chinese Taipei’s Wang Chi-Lin/Chen Hung Ling over Japan’s Takuto Inoue/Yuki Kaneko, 21-14 21-6.
In Women’s Doubles, Indonesia’s Rizki Amelia Pradipta/Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah’s quarter-finals performance gave them sufficient points to stake their qualification claim as their country’s third pair. Pradipta/Nuraidah gained 3850 points and will overtake Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari in the Race to Glasgow rankings.
Pradipta/Nuraidah fell in the quarter-finals to China’s Du Yue/Xu Ya. The title was won by Bao Yixin/Yu Xiaohan who beat Chinese compatriots Huang Yaqiong/Tang Jinhua 8-21 21-14 21-17.
In Mixed Doubles, Hafiz Faisal/Shela Devi Aulia’s semi-final performance proved insufficient to get them past the third-ranked Indonesian pair Ronald Ronald/Melati Daeva Oktavianti. Faisal/Aulia fell to China’s Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping, who went on to clinch the title over Chinese Taipei’s Liao Min Chun/Chen Hsiao Huan 21-14 21-10.
The invitations to all the qualifiers based on the World Rankings of 27 April 2017 will be sent in two phases; the deadline for confirmation of entries in Phase-II is 22 May 2017. Seeding will be based on the World Ranking of Thursday 3 August, and the draw will be held on Wednesday 9 August.
The TOTAL BWF World Championships will be held in Emirates Arena, Scotland, from 21 to 27 August 2017. Tickets are available at: http://www.glasgow2017.com/tickets.aspx.