Tai Crashes Out – Day 2: VICTOR China Open 2018

Tai Crashes Out – Day 2: VICTOR China Open 2018

Women’s Singles top seed Tai Tzu Ying suffered a second successive early-round loss, crashing out of the VICTOR China Open 2018 today to local hope Gao Fangjie.

The World No.1, who won the Asian Games in late August, was a second round casualty last week in Japan to China’s Chen Xiaoxin. Today, in the opening round against the 19-year-old Gao Fangjie, the top seed once again struggled with movement and placement of shots, frequently hitting wide of the lines.

After a disappointing opening game, Tai did show greater initiative in the second, with her whippy forehands catching Gao off-guard. Tai looked in control at 12-8 before the errors crept in once again and Gao finished it on the 37 minute, 21-17 21-16.

The young Chinese was surprised at the ease of her victory. “I didn’t expect to win, because I didn’t play well, but she too was not at her best level and that’s why I won,” said Gao. “She made a lot of unforced errors and was not agile. I tried not to overthink. As the younger and less experienced player, my approach was to be aggressive.”

A similar fate nearly befell Women’s Doubles top seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota before the Japanese squeaked past Indonesia’s Anggia Shitta Awanda/Mahadewi Istirani Ni Ketut 21-16 14-21 26-24.

The Indonesians had the lead for most of the third game and even held match points at 23-22 and 24-23, but the Japanese relied on their rock-solid consistency to deny them any openings and emerged victorious after 66 minutes.

“Despite being ahead in the third game, there were moments where we could not finish off the rallies when we had clear chances,” said Awanda. “We tried to think of one point at a time, but I think we lost the mental game.”

While Tai succumbed early for the second straight week, Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara showed no fatigue despite featuring in the Japan Open final on Sunday. Okuhara, the eighth seed, was speedy and precise in a quick dismantling of Canada’s Michelle Li, 21-12 21-13.

In the same quarter, World Junior champion Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (Indonesia) survived a thrilling finish against China’s Chen Xiaoxin. Both youngsters showed pluck in the closing stages of the hour-long match, daring to play the shuttle tight at the net and going for the lines. It was Tunjung who was the more consistent of the two, and she ultimately finished with a smash to close it out 12-21 21-19 23-21.

Mariska will take on USA’s Beiwen Zhang, who battled past Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in three hard-fought games.

Fukushima and Hirota’s was the closest of all the Women’s Doubles matches as all the other seeds in action completed their opening assignments in straight games.

Indonesia had another good day across categories. In Men’s Doubles, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan needed just 30 minutes to trounce China’s Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng, 21-19 21-14, in a battle between former World champions.

Two other Indonesian pairs joined them in round two. Berry Angriawan and Hardianto Hardianto held off sixth seeds Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding (Denmark) in an hour-long battle, while Ricky Karandasuwardi and Angga Pratama summarily dismissed seventh seeds Takuto Inoue/Yuki Kaneko 21-19 21-14 in 31 minutes.

Karandasuwardi returned for the Mixed Doubles, partnering Debby Susanto to a 21-15 19-21 21-16 victory over Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai.

India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa avenged their Commonwealth Games loss to England’s Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith, beating them 21-13 20-22 21-17.

In the same quarter, Malaysia’s Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing prevailed in a hard contest over Denmark’s Niclas Nohr/Sara Thygesen, 22-20 21-18. They will meet fourth seeds Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet (Hong Kong), who progressed beating Russia’s Rodion Alimov/Alina Daveletova 21-14 21-19.

In Men’s Singles, Lee Hyun Il continued to hold a spell on young Dane Anders Antonsen, who lost his third match in as many meetings against the Korean veteran. Exerting admirable control over the shuttle in difficult conditions, Lee employed the right shifts in pace and lines of attack to wear down Antonsen, who rued his missed opportunities. Lee emerged winner at 18-21 21-19 21-18 and will next take on second seed Shi Yuqi, who made his way past Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.

“He was the better man, more clever in the end,” said Antonsen. “It’s frustrating, I had a lead in the second and third games and I should have closed it out. He has a lot of years of experience, he knows what to do when it gets close in the end. I like those situations when it’s close, but today I just didn’t have what it takes to win.”

In the same quarter, Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie (Indonesia) fought past Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama in three games, while Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long enjoyed a quick victory over India’s HS Prannoy, 21-16 21-12.

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Another Momota Milestone – Finals: DAIHATSU YONEX Japan Open 2018

Another Momota Milestone – Finals: DAIHATSU YONEX Japan Open 2018

Kento Momota made history for Japan today as he became the first home player to win the Men’s Singles title at the Japan Open.

Momota’s stellar year continued as he followed up on his Asian title and the World Championships gold to win the DAIHATSU YONEX Japan Open 2018, an HSBC BWF World Tour 750 event. In the process, he halted the spectacular run of Thai dark horse Khosit Phetpradab, who had made his first major Men’s Singles final.

Momota’s was the first of two Japanese gold medals on the day, as Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota won the Women’s Doubles in the next match. However, Women’s Singles home crowd favourite Nozomi Okuhara was outgunned by World champion Carolina Marin (Spain).

Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia) and Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong (China) continued their dominance of Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles respectively, with the Indonesians winning their sixth title of the year and the Chinese their fifth.

“I’m very happy with this win because this is a special place, being the Olympic venue,” Zheng said after he and Huang Yaqiong had beaten compatriots Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping 21-19 21-8.  “Our level is as same as theirs.  We talked a lot about our match so our combinations are stable – on a high level and improving – but it was not easy to get to this level.  We had many ups and downs.”

Through the week, Phetpradab had showcased some fiery attacking badminton that had helped him shock All England champion Shi Yuqi and Olympic champion Chen Long in previous rounds. The in-form Momota, however, was a different prospect altogether.

In sharp contrast to the way he’d started his semi-final against Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, where he’d chosen to peg his opponent to the baseline, Momota turned up his own attacking volume. With Phetpradab too not backing down, it was an entertaining early session.

Two things worked against the Thai – Momota’s classiness in anticipation, ensuring that certain winners were returned, and Phetpradab’s own tightness, following perhaps from the energy he’d spent getting to the final. Having drilled a crosscourt smash on the line to make it 14-16, Phetpradab served into the net; on the next point he went for a similar smash but went wide. The errors gave Momota the cushion he needed, and he continued in the same vein in the second.

The Thai, to his credit, kept going, with another fierce smash helping him to 9-all. But then the errors returned again, and even though he sparkled at times, it was evident he wasn’t his best against a player who made barely any mistake of his own. With a final crosscourt smash that went unchallenged, Momota sank to the floor – it was a more emotional celebration than at the World Championships.

“I never thought I would stand here as champion,” said Momota. “Thanks to everyone for the support. I’m so glad I could show how much I’ve improved. It’s a dream to be a winner here.”

In the Women’s Doubles final, local hopefuls Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota stonewalled Asian Games champions Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan, 21-15 21-12. It was a reversal of the result from the 2017 World Championships final.

True to form, Fukushima and Hirota built a wall that Chen and Jia tried hard to pierce. With Fukushima’s probing attack from the back and Hirota’s powerful interceptions from the mid-court, the Chinese were constantly under pressure. Chen had to work hard to cover up for her partner at the back, and consequently her own level dipped.

A phenomenal 83-shot rally that went Japan’s way gave them first game point. Midway through the second game both Chen and Jia were visibly flagging, and the Japanese scored a succession of smash winners by bisecting them. A final long rally won, and the Japanese had completed their conquest of their home tournament.

Marin Sets the Pace

Victory for Nozomi Okuhara would’ve meant an unprecedented three titles for the home team at the Japan Open, but it was not to be. In the longest contest of the day at 74 minutes, defending champion Carolina Marin kept her crown with a 21-19 17-21 21-11 result.

Okuhara will look back at the missed opportunities in the first game that decided the direction of the match. The Japanese had significant leads through the game, only for Marin to claw back, staying with her punishing pace to draw the errors from her opponent. At 19-16, Okuhara was very nearly there, but Marin continued to push the pace and nicked it off her opponent.

And while Okuhara did recover to level the deficit after a gruelling second game, the physical and mental effort showed up early in the third. Marin shot off to a 10-1 lead, and it was apparent that her opponent had nothing left in the tank.

“I am very happy to win here in front of my sponsor’s home,” Marin said.  “I prepared for this final and it worked very well.  After getting a big title like the Olympic gold, it was very hard to keep my motivation for badminton. I took some rest and made some targets with my team.  It’s easy to say ‘I want to get a title in the Olympics,’ or ‘I want to win this title,’ but difficult to act on it.  So I’m doing my best in my training.”

Okuhara acknowledged that Marin’s pace had made the difference: “It was good for me to reach the final though my condition was not so good during this tournament.  I allowed her to play her own game so I was not able to play at my pace.  It was good to get reacquainted with Marin’s speed this time.  I had almost forgotten how fast she moves because we hadn’t played for more than a year, not since the 2017 World Championships.”

Minions Unstoppable

Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, crowned World champions in August, didn’t live up to expectations. The Chinese pair – particularly Li, who had an awful day – were way below par, and Gideon and Sukamuljo were all over them.

The Chinese pair started out without a sense of urgency, content to keep the shuttle high and invite the attack; neither were they threatening in the serve-return situations. It was only at the beginning of the second game that the Chinese reverted to their true style of playing, leading to some lively exchanges. Li’s mistakes, though – he was erratic in serve and sluggish in movement – gave the Indonesians enough opportunities to pull away to a 21-11 21-13 victor. This was their sixth title in 2018 from as many finals, and maintained their unbeaten streak in finals going back to October 2017.

“I felt they were slow today,” said Gideon. “We had some tough situations in this tournament but we always tried our best in each rally. We tested many tactics in the bad situations and never give up until the last moment. We believe that is the correct attitude in order to win.”

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World Champs in Second Place

World Champs in Second Place

China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen made a significant leap of three spots in the BWF World Rankings in the week following their Men’s Doubles victory at the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2018.

The Chinese pair (featured image) earned 13,000 points from their victory in Nanjing, and are currently in second spot, still over 25,000 points behind the top-ranked Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia.

The Indonesians, who won four tournaments this season but fell in the quarter-finals of the Worlds, are sitting pretty with 102,683 points.

World Championships runners-up Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (Japan) benefitted from their performance in Nanjing, the 11,000 points helping them jump up a place to No.3.

The other beneficiaries of their Nanjing performance were Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin, whose semi-final finish gave them 9,200 points, helping them jump five places to No.10. Also making a move up were Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong, who lost to the eventual champions in the third round. The Malaysians progressed three spots to No.11.

Fukushima/Hirota On Top

World Championships runners-up Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota had some consolation after blowing two match points in the Women’s Doubles final, as they climbed up a place to No.1, just ahead of compatriots Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi.

Last year’s champions Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan (China) slipped two spots to No.3, while the pair that beat them in the quarter-finals, Indonesia’s Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu, climbed two spots to No.4. The other bronze medallists, Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto (Japan), remained static at No.5.

World champions Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara also remained stationary at No.10 despite making 13,000 points. Japan, as expected, dominate the top 15 with six pairs.

Zheng/Huang at No.1

The Mixed Doubles went perfectly for China at the World Championships as their top two pairs made the final. Newly-crowned champions Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong jumped up a spot to No.1, while runners-up Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping also progressed a spot to No.2.

Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia), who did not compete in Nanjing, slipped two spots to No.3.

The big gainers in the rankings were China’s Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui, semi-finalists at the Worlds, who clambered four spots to No.12.

Another pair that gained four places was Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai, who are currently at No.15.

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Lee/Kim Triumph – Barcelona Spain Masters 2018: Review

Lee/Kim Triumph – Barcelona Spain Masters 2018: Review

Lee Yong Dae and Kim Gi Jung made a winning comeback to international badminton, capturing the Men’s Doubles title at the Barcelona Spain Masters 2018 on Sunday.

The Koreans (featured image), who were successful with different partners until 2016 – following which they eased out of international competition, only to be seen intermittently – appeared in Barcelona for their first tournament of 2018. They started by beating Dutch duo Jelle Maas/Robin Tabeling 21-17 21-14, followed by a victory over Denmark’s Niclas Nohr/Kasper Antonsen (21-15 21-14), and then French pair Maxime Briot/Kenji Lovang (21-11 21-17) in the quarter-finals.

Their form held in the semi-finals as they dismissed Malaysia’s Chen Tang Jie/Wei Chong Man (21-11 21-17) before storming past Thailand’s Bodin Isara/Maneepong Jongjit in the final, 21-13 21-17.

Denmark and Japan captured two titles each on the last day. Rasmus Gemke won the Men’s Singles, beating top seed Suppanyu Avihingsanon (Thailand) 15-21 21-6 21-14 in the longest match of finals day.

On his way to the final, Gemke overcame India’s Ajay Jayaram in the quarter-finals and England’s Toby Penty in the semi-finals.

Gemke’s Danish compatriots Niclas Nohr/Sara Thygesen won the Mixed Doubles beating England’s Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith 21-19 21-17.

Top seeds Ellis/Smith had earlier beaten Japan’s Kohei Gondo/Ayane Kurihara in the semi-finals, while Nohr/Thygesen prevailed over Malaysia’s Chen Tang Jie/Peck Yen Wei at the same stage.

Japan’s Minatsu Mitani won her first title since the French Open of 2012 with a come-from-behind effort over Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, the Japanese saving two match points on the way.

Having lost the opening game, Mitani fought back from 19-20 and 20-21 in the second to force a decider, which she took quite easily: 9-21 23-21 21-8.

Recently-crowned World champions Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara triumphed in Women’s Doubles over compatriots Ayako Sakuramoto/Yukiko Takahata.

The top seeds dropped a game in the semi-finals, against Denmark’s Maiken Fruergaard/Sara Thygesen, but were at their best in the final, which they won 21-17 21-13.

Intanon Leads Thailand into Semis – Day 2: Asian Games 2018

Intanon Leads Thailand into Semis – Day 2: Asian Games 2018

Ratchanok Intanon inflicted upon Tai Tzu Ying only her third defeat of the year yesterday as Thailand blanked Chinese Taipei 3-0 to enter the semi-finals of the women’s team event at the Asian Games 2018.

Intanon, who was the only player to beat Tai before the World No.1’s shock quarter-final loss to China’s He Bingjiao at the TOTAL BWF World Championships, stopped her familiar rival 21-18 21-18 in 41 minutes.

Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai made it 2-0 beating Hsu Ya Ching/Wu Ti Jung, and Nitchaon Jindapol sealed the victory defeating Pai Yu Po 21-18 21-16.

Thailand face China, who had it easy against Maldives, winning 3-0.

In the top half, Japan eased past India 3-1 and Indonesia powered past Korea by the same margin.

Pusarla V Sindhu took the first point for India against Japan beating Akane Yamaguchi, but her compatriots couldn’t step up to the task as the Uber Cup champions took the next three matches, with Nozomi Okuhara fighting off a battling Saina Nehwal 21-11 23-25 21-16 in the third match.

The only point for Korea against Indonesia came in the second Women’s Singles, with Lee Se Yeon beating Fitriani Fitriani in three games. Gregoria Mariska Tunjung had given Indonesia the start they wanted, holding off Sung Ji Hyun 21-13 8-21 21-18.

In the men’s team event, China and Chinese Taipei set up a semi-final clash, while Japan and Indonesia face off in the other half.

Indonesia emerged from a tough quarter-final against India 3-1, with Anthony Ginting leading from the front beating Kidambi Srikanth in a close match 23-21 20-22 21-10.

Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo followed up with a 21-19 19-21 21-16 result over Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty. HS Prannoy kept India in the hunt beating Jonatan Christie 21-15 19-21 21-19, but Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto shut the door on India with a 21-14 21-18 result over Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy.

In the other quarter-finals, Japan, Chinese Taipei and China cruised past Korea, Nepal and Hong Kong with identical 3-0 margins.

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Marin Times it Right – Women’s Singles Review: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2018

Marin Times it Right – Women’s Singles Review: TOTAL BWF World Championships 2018

What is it with major events and Carolina Marin?

The Spaniard’s title win in Nanjing made her the first Women’s Singles player in history to win three World titles. That, and her Rio Olympics gold medal, have seen her capture the year’s most prestigious title four times in the last five years.

Interestingly, except for 2015, Marin has never dominated the season. This year, she arrived in Nanjing without a World Tour title to her name; her best being a lone semi-final in six events (apart from the European title). Similarly, in 2016, in the run-up to Rio Marin best was two semi-final performances in four Tour events. In 2014, the year she surprised everyone with her first World title, Marin hadn’t won a Tour event in eight appearances – losing even the Spanish Open final to Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour.

What this indicates is that the Spaniard (featured image) has mastered the ability to peak at the year’s standout event – the Olympics and the World Championships. In Nanjing, Marin was in a class of her own, shutting down rivals with ruthless efficiency.

Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan might have expected to trouble her in the second round, but Marin steamrolled her 21-9 21-8. Next was Japan’s Sayaka Sato, who was also dispatched in clinical fashion, 21-7 21-13.

India’s Saina Nehwal was her opponent in the quarter-finals, and most fans would have expected a difficult match for the Spaniard. Marin, however, only seemed to get better with every match, stunning the Indian 21-6 21-11, leading Nehwal to comment that she had never seen Marin play at such a high pace.

China’s He Bingjiao was the only player who would take a game off her; nevertheless, Marin recovered to eventually coast to a 13-21 21-16 21-13 victory. Around an hour after Marin had booked her place in her third World Championships final, familiar rival Pusarla V Sindhu followed her into the title round.

The Indian had fallen in two major finals, both hard-fought. In Rio she faded out only at the end, while in Glasgow last year, she lost the title to Nozomi Okuhara by the thinnest of margins. Her experience was expected to stand her in good stead against Marin.

And yet, once Marin broke away from the middle of the opening game, Pusarla’s challenge melted down in untypical fashion. The Indian was a frazzled mess in the second game, even as Marin bustled around the court imperiously.

“It’s been really special to be the first player to win three World Championships… This is really special because I, Carolina Marin, came back and I will fight for my next target,” declared the three-time World champion.

The big surprise in Women’s Singles was the stunning quarter-final exit of hot contender Tai Tzu Ying. The Chinese Taipei star was in unbeatable form heading to the Worlds, having lost just one match out of 35 through the season. It was against He Bingjiao that Tai unravelled, going down tamely after she’d recovered strongly in the second.

Meanwhile, defending champion Nozomi Okuhara (Japan) went down in the quarter-finals to Pusarla – a reversal of their fortunes from Glasgow; while compatriot Akane Yamaguchi made the semi-finals beating China’s Chen Yufei. It was Pusarla again who dented Japan’s hopes, getting the better of Yamaguchi in a thrilling semi-final, 21-16 24-22.

Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon and Canada’s Michelle Li were among the contenders who could not live up to their reputation. Intanon, the 2013 champion, struggled in her second round against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt before going down to Nehwal in straight games. Eleventh seed Li was surprised in the second round by Vietnam’s Nguyen Thuy Linh in a tight finish.

There were encouraging performances from the recent World Junior champions. Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei outplayed Japan’s Aya Ohori in the second round before falling to Okuhara, while Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung did justice to her growing reputation by beating Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour in the opening round.

Perhaps the tournament’s most arresting image, however, will be that of USA’s Beiwen Zhang doing a full split in a sensational rally in her third round against Tai Tzu Ying. Beiwen won that point but not the match.

Profitable Season for Tai Tzu Ying

Profitable Season for Tai Tzu Ying

Women’s Singles World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying’s dominance of the circuit so far this season has been richly rewarded – with the Chinese Taipei ace pocketing nearly a quarter of a million dollars in prize money.

Tai, who won four of the five HSBC BWF World Tour events she was in, besides the Badminton Asia Championships, was far and away the highest earner among all categories, with US $ 246,050. Tai’s career winnings are expected to hit a million soon – she is currently at US $ 984,605 – making her perhaps the quickest player to reach that mark.

All England champion Shi Yuqi (China), who was runner-up at the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2018, topped the prize money aggregate in Men’s Singles, with US $ 119,775, closely followed by comeback kid Kento Momota. The Japanese, who won the Asian title, the Malaysia Open and the TOTAL BWF World Championships, took home US $ 113,100, just one of five players to make over US $ 100,000 this year. The other two to cross that impressive figure were Indonesia’s Men’s Doubles duo Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, who each got richer by US $ 113,000.

Among the other top earners were Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen, who made over US $ 82,000 thanks to her winnings in Women’s Doubles (US $ 57,487) and Mixed Doubles (US $ 24,518) and Japan’s Yuta Watanabe, who likewise excelled in two categories.

Top Earners (all categories):

1.Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) – US $ 246,050
2. Shi Yuqi (China) – US $ 119,775
3. Kento Momota (Japan) – US $ 113,100
4. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (Indonesia) – US $ 113,087
4. Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia) – US $ 113,087
5. Christinna Pedersen (Denmark) – US $ 82,006
6. Yuta Watanabe (Japan) – US $ 74,675
7. Yuki Fukushima (Japan) – US $ 74,531
7.Sayaka Hirota (Japan) – US $ 74,531
8.Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) – US $ 73,825
9.Zheng Siwei (China) – US $ 72,625
9.Huang Yaqiong (China) – US $ 72,625
10.Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) – US $ 72,000

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Back to Winning Ways – Singles Finals: Singapore Open 2018

Back to Winning Ways – Singles Finals: Singapore Open 2018

Two singles players, who toil in the shadows of more illustrious peers, today celebrated morale-boosting victories at the Singapore Badminton Open 2018.

Men’s champion, Chou Tien Chen (featured image: right), and women’s winner, Sayaka Takahashi (featured image: left), prevailed in straight games but in somewhat contrasting styles to savour glory that both believe will inspire them in the future.

In Chou’s case he hopes that motivation comes as early as next week when he tackles the best Men’s Singles players for the World Championship title in Nanjing, China. The 28-year-old was speaking in the aftermath of a well-paced 21-13 21-13 victory over his Chinese Taipei team-mate, Hsu Jen Hao, at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“This will give me a lot of confidence for the World Championships. The last time I won a major Tour title was in 2014. It has been four years – a rather long time since I’ve last won – so this is a breakthrough. I feel that I have been improving and that I can win more titles,” said the top seed who only lost one game throughout the five-round event.

Meanwhile, Takahashi – who turns 26 next Sunday – gave herself an early birthday gift, winning her third title of the year in four finals; the first Japanese woman to win in Singapore.

The No.5 seed saved four game points in a tense opener and then romped away at 9-9 in the second game to beat Gao Fangjie of China, 25-23 21-14, in 47 minutes.

Takahashi, the younger sister of Japan’s Olympic gold medallist Ayaka Takahashi, shared the story of her comeback from injury, revealing that two years ago she was on the verge of quitting badminton. However, she was inspired by her sister’s Women’s Doubles accomplishment at Rio 2016 as well as by encouragement from the older Takahashi.

“My sister said ‘Let’s play badminton together, and let’s win together’. That comment changed me. If she hadn’t said that, I don’t think I would be here,” said the winner who has also been successful in New Zealand and Switzerland this season.

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Close Call – Day 5: Singapore Open 2018

Close Call – Day 5: Singapore Open 2018

Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir’s fabled career almost added an unwelcome chapter today as the Olympic and World champions flirted with serious danger against a pair of their youthful compatriots in the Singapore Badminton Open 2018 semi-finals.

In fact, the top seeds had to save two game points versus Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Winny Oktavina Kandow in the first game before scrambling into the lead on their fourth opportunity. The vastly experienced duo pulled themselves together after the change of sides and, seizing the lead from 8-8, maintained their advantage until the winning point.

Sighing with relief, Ahmad and Natsir (featured image) were thankful to escape with their reputations intact and the score in their favour: 26-24 21-17 in 31 minutes.

“We kept making a lot of easy errors and, of course, they wanted to beat us. They were attacking well and I was thinking ‘No, we can’t lose this match. We are senior’,” said Natsir, a bit of ego kicking in.

“At the start of the second game I told Tontowi that we need to focus more, so then we were able to control the match.”

Smiling, Natsir acknowledged that they were lucky to get through the first game which put pressure on Cahyono and Kandow. Ultimately, that played into her and Ahmad’s hands against junior rivals in their first outing at this level. The result put Natsir into her eighth Singapore final and Ahmad into his fourth.

They will be in uncharted territory in the final, facing Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai for the first time. The No.2 seeds won their semi-final efficiently against Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (21-18 21-14) and are relishing a great match against the esteemed Indonesians.

In Women’s Singles, Gao Fangjie avenged a painful and costly loss to Nitchaon Jindapol en route to her first HSBC BWF World Tour final.

The tall 19-year-old elevated her attack in the decider as her opponent’s resistance waned, eventually triumphing 21-15 12-21 21-14 in 66 minutes. Flashing back to the hard-fought, China-Thailand Uber Cup semi-final in May, an emotional Gao recalled the bitter lessons learnt from that defeat by Jindapol; lessons that served her well this time around.

“It was painful but gained a lot of experience from that match. I learnt the importance of being mentally strong and handling pressure in a big tournament. I wanted to win today and I was mentally stronger,” noted the blossoming Chinese player.

There was also a show of mental prowess from 25-year-old Sayaka Takahashi who advanced to challenge Gao in the championship match by ousting another Chinese youngster, Han Yue. The Japanese overcame a poor start to grab command of their semi-final, showing off a wide-ranging shot selection that earned her a 21-18 21-14 victory.

“I felt tired at the start but then I started thinking positively and that change in mindset helped me win,” explained the left-hander who climbed from 11-16 down to take the first game.

Takahashi, who will be competing in her fourth final this season and hunting her third crown, said she will have to be patient against Gao and wait for her chance to attack.

Meanwhile, Men’s Singles will again be a same-country affair – just Chinese Taipei on this occasion as opposed to India a year ago. Top seed Chou Tien Chen withstood Qiao Bin’s best efforts to conquer the Chinese player, 21-12 18-21 21-16; pulling away impressively in the dying stages. Earlier, Chou’s team-mate Hsu Jen Hao outlasted wily veteran Nguyen Tien Minh in a two-game duel that stretched 79 minutes, featuring some long, exhausting rallies.

Winning 21-15 21-11, Hsu collapsed on court at the end and later declared “I feel like I just finished a marathon”.

“I have played Tien Minh 4-5 times and I have never defeated him before now. Today’s match was about who had more patience and better stamina. I am younger so maybe I had an advantage in terms of stamina, but he was a really good opponent. He was injured but he continued to rally with me, it was quite unbelievable,” said Hsu.

A disappointed Nguyen said he felt he could still win the match despite the first-game setback but the decisive factor was that the 35-year-old got cramp in his right thigh which hampered his movement.

Though the Vietnamese failed in his quest, veterans will still have a voice in tomorrow’s final with 30-year-old Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, aged 33, progressing to a Men’s Doubles showdown with a pair of younger Chinese. The Indonesians swept past their countrymen, Angga Pratama/Rian Agung Saputro, 21-16 21-13, to give themselves a shot at the title. Shortly, thereafter Ou Xuanyi, 24, and 19-year-old Ren Xiangyu held off their fellow Chinese, Han Chengkai, and Zhou Haodong (21-17 26-24).

“We did not expect to be in the final, especially as we are a new pair. We just wanted to do our best in every match. We won’t focus on who our opponents are in the final but just trying to win every point we can,” said Ou.

In Women’s Doubles, Japan’s production line of successful combinations was to the fore again as Ayako Sakuramoto/Yukiko Takahata and Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida confirmed an all-Japan tussle for the title. Sakuramoto and Takahata dismissed Thai top seeds, Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai, in straight games (21-17 21-19) to reach their fifth Tour final in five events; having won all four previous finals. Matsuyama and Shida bounced back from dropping the second game to thwart Germany’s Isabel Herttrich/Carla Nelte (21-18 17-21 21-16).

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China’s Young Heroes – Thomas Cup Review

China’s Young Heroes – Thomas Cup Review

China’s young generation came good on the big stage to help their team recapture the Thomas Cup six years after China last lifted the trophy.

In Shi Yuqi and the Men’s Doubles pair of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, China found their heroes.

Nine-time winners China arrived in Bangkok for the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2018 secure in the knowledge that they had, on paper, the strongest team of the 16. With Olympic champion Chen Long as spearhead, and World champions Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng, All England winner Shi Yuqi, and Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen to follow; and five-time World champion Lin Dan as the most reliable fifth-match player a team could have, China looked solid in all departments.

On the other hand, this edition of the Thomas Cup had several teams with all-round depth. Defending champions and top seeds Denmark, for instance, arrived with a mostly unchanged squad from the one that won the tournament two years ago. Japan, Indonesia and Chinese Taipei too have enjoyed success in singles and doubles in recent years, while Hong Kong and Thailand looked capable of springing upsets against more fancied opponents.

Having qualified with ease to the quarter-finals, China’s first big test was expected to be Chinese Taipei. However, the Chinese powered past their rivals dropping just a game; after Chen Long provided the opening, Zhang/Liu held off Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang in a close contest before Shi Yuqi edged past Wang Tzu Wei.

Shi again proved his mettle the following day, in the semi-finals against Indonesia. The All England champion was steadiness personified against Jonatan Christie, and his victory set up the tie for Li/Liu to storm past Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan. The veteran Indonesians are renowned for their mastery of the serve-return and net situations, but Li and Liu did not allow them any breathing space up front, and despite losing the first game, stepped on the gas in the second and third, with the Indonesians unable to repel their fierce attack. The manner of their victory was a signal that China were going into the final with all engines running smoothly.

Japan got the start they wanted in the final with Kento Momota’s masterly display against Chen Long. World champions Zhang/Liu outclassed Takuto Inoue/Yuki Kaneko to get China back into the contest.

Shi Yuqi once again stepped up to the plate and with commendable assurance, stopped Kenta Nishimoto in his tracks.

Japan fielded the scratch combination of Keigo Sonoda and Yuta Watanabe against Li and Liu – and it worked brilliantly for them. The Japanese were electric in the opening game, and it took all of Li and Liu’s skills to rein them in. With two match points, Watanabe and Sonoda nearly took Japan to a fifth match, but Li and Liu showed they had finally matured into world-beaters, staying calm during the storm to steer China through. China’s young guns had steered the ship to safely.

And while Japan went down, in their spirited display they made a grand impression. They had come through the toughest group of the four – Group C – against Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Germany – dropping just two matches on the way.

The semi-final against Denmark was an engrossing tie. Momota can well claim to be the best player in the world at the moment as he dispatched World champion Viktor Axelsen 21-17 21-9. Denmark, missing Carsten Mogensen, fielded Mathias Boe and Mads Conrad-Petersen against Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda and the new combination clicked.

Hans-Kristian Vittinghus was Denmark’s hero during their title victory in 2016, but Kenta Nishimoto was the better player on the day as he closed out the contest 21-19 21-12.

Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen took the tie to the fifth match. Jan O Jorgensen’s experience was expected to favour him against Kanta Tsuneyama, but the match turned out differently, with Jorgensen unable to contain the attacking Tsuneyama. The defending champions were out of the tournament.

A lot of the credit for Japan’s performance went, deservingly, to Momota, who capped a sensational comeback from suspension. Momota continued from where he left in Wuhan – he won the Asian title in April – winning all his six matches in Bangkok.

Another player who led his team admirably was Lee Chong Wei. The veteran was once again the rock for his team, winning all three of his matches, including the group match against Viktor Axelsen, in which he started out with spellbinding speed before relying on his craft to fashion a 21-9 21-19 victory. He followed that up by beating Anthony Ginting in the quarter-finals to put Malaysia ahead, but the rest of his team couldn’t quite keep up.

Hosts Thailand, in Group B with Indonesia, Korea and Canada, couldn’t match the sensational display of their Uber Cup team, failing to progress past the group stage. The tie that cost the Thais dearly was against Korea, as they went down 3-2.

Of the other teams, France did well to qualify for the quarter-finals, finishing second in Group A, ahead of India and Australia.

Group C was reckoned to be the ‘group of death’, with Japan, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Germany. While Germany did finish last in the group, they gave a good account of themselves, losing narrowly to Hong Kong 3-2, and taking a point off Japan (4-1). Mark Lamsfuss/Marvin Emil Seidel will look back with some happy memories, as they beat Japan’s Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda and Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Or Chin Chung, both in close finishes.

YOG Mascot #Pandi Launched

YOG Mascot #Pandi Launched

The Youth Olympic Games mascot #Pandi was launched by the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee last week. Inspired by the jaguar, one of the most emblematic wild cat species found in northern Argentina, the mascot aims to inspire youth to embrace sport as a tool to make the world a better place, while raising awareness about the species’ risk of extinction.

The mascot’s name has a hashtag at the beginning to demonstrate its strong online profile. The jaguar, found in Argentina’s northern region, is in great danger due to human causes. Various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have warned about the risk of extinction as a result of the destruction of their natural habitat and hunting.

In the animated short, the young jaguar doesn’t give up when faced with challenges as it tries to reach the ribbons with colours that symbolise Buenos Aires 2018.

During the race it uses the positive energy of the sports found on the Youth Olympic programme to overcome all kinds of obstacles.

Exhaustion can’t get in the way of its final goal, to reach the Obelisk in downtown Buenos Aires, where it’s embraced by the ribbons to become the mascot for the third summer edition of the Youth Olympic Games.

With perseverance and the festive spirit it reveals upon reaching its goal, #Pandi symbolises the desire for Buenos Aires 2018, the first edition of an Olympic celebration with strict gender equality, to serve as an important source of inspiration to build a better world through sport.

“Like the young athletes that give their best to qualify for the Games, the Buenos Aires 2018 mascot overcomes all types of adversity to reach its goals,” said the president of the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee, Gerardo Werthein.

The Olympic mascots are ambassadors to the Games and play a fundamental role in spreading the event’s message and the Olympic values of friendship, respect, and excellence among different audiences, especially children and youth.

BWF Council Proposes Innovative Changes

BWF Council Proposes Innovative Changes

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) Council will formally propose a suite of changes to enhance the sport at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) of members in May.

These recommendations are being made to ensure badminton – which has enjoyed a steady rise in key areas in recent years – remains competitive in the fast-paced, cutting-edge sports-entertainment industry.

At its meeting last November, the BWF Council endorsed a package of initiatives which aims to build significant value for badminton. Some of these have already been introduced and the recent launch of the HSBC BWF World Tour is another platform to roll out more of these upgrades and enhancements. The BWF Council’s primary focus is to optimise the presentation of badminton at the highest level. BWF has a strategic, 360-degree approach that covers these elements:

  • Enriching fan experience – attracting new fans
  • Raising the profiles of stars and emerging talent
  • Increasing the commercial value of badminton
  • Strengthening badminton’s global recognition as a cutting-edge sport
  • Enhancing the quality of its broadcast product
  • Innovating competition rules

A special edition of BWF’s newsletter Shuttle World has been circulated publicly, outlining the BWF Council’s rationale, including the goal of building greater suspense in badminton; shortening the length of matches and reducing physical and mental stress on players. Under the banner Enhancing Badminton’s Future, the document also highlights other considerations regarding boosting badminton’s commercial value and sports presentation. This information has also been condensed into an executive summary and a pictorial (below).

In an accompanying letter to BWF’s 189 member associations, BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer noted BWF cannot afford to rest on the successes it has reaped – but rather needs to be bolder and to go further in innovation.

Among the main enhancements that require the AGM’s endorsement are:

  • A new and enhanced scoring system of 5 to 11.
  • A reduction in on-court coaching.
  • A service-law change to introduce a fixed height for serves.

Changing the scoring system – with specific focus on elite international tournaments – is an essential part of this strategic, multi-dimensional plan to innovate our competition rules.

“Our aim is to enhance and enrich our sport with wide-ranging initiatives that will realise badminton’s vast global potential; taking it to unprecedented heights in all spheres.

“We must continue attracting and exciting fans – fans who have countless, amazing choices in a competitive global sports market.

It’s time for change: time to bring in new peaks, more excitement and increase broadcast and fan appeal,” said Høyer, urging his colleagues “to embrace change and do what is best for badminton”.

Please see related documents attached here: Enhancing Badminton’s Future.

Høyer Accepts SPIA Gold Award

Høyer Accepts SPIA Gold Award

Badminton World Federation President Poul-Erik Høyer on Sunday accepted the Gold Award for BWF from SPIA Asia for the ‘Best Global Sports Organization Operating in Asia’.

The award was announced at the 3rd SPIA Asia – Asia’s Sports Industry Awards & Conference in Bangkok on 9 November 2017. Høyer received the prize from Eric M Gottschalk (featured image; right), CEO of MMC Sportz Marketing LLC, organiser of SPIA Asia, at the InterContinental Hotel in Dubai.

BWF won the Gold Award over nine other nominees: International Tennis Federation (UK); International Cricket Council (UAE); Spartan Race (USA); ONE Championship (Singapore); FC Bayern Munich (China); United Arab Emirates Ju Jitsu Federation (UAE); Ultimate Fighting Championship (USA); Global Professional Tennis Coach Association (Switzerland), and Peter Burwash International (USA). Spartan Race won silver, while UFC won bronze.

BWF was also nominated for two other awards. The Dubai World Superseries Finals 2016 was nominated for ‘Best International Sporting Event Sanctioned by an International Federation’, while Shuttle Time Dubai was nominated in the ‘Best Youth Development Program of the Year’ category.

The Awards Gala was held at the end of a two-day conference (6 and 7 November 2017) which was attended by more than 300 delegates and 20 international speakers from various industry sectors. There were 17 Asian and six Thai award categories, and winners were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals for their achievements and contributions to the sports industry over the last 12 months.

The Sports Business Conference, titled ‘The Business of Sports –  Asia’s Sports Industry in the Fast Lane III’ – has been held annually since 2015 to celebrate the brands, agencies, marketers and organisations that influence the sporting landscape in Asia. The conference was endorsed and supported by Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Sports Authority Thailand, and the Tourism Authority Thailand.

In the ‘Best Global Sports Organization Operating in Asia’ category, entries were accepted from those sporting bodies that have a presence or reach in at least 15 countries, and with active grassroots programmes, talent development, regular competitions, and with a global fan base. The Awards Committee was composed of selected experts representing various fields of the sporting industry.

“The standard of award submissions and competition has been exceptionally high this year,” said Eric M Gottschalk, CEO of MMC Sportz Marketing LLC, organiser of SPIA Asia – Sports Industry Awards & Conference 2017. “Having started with almost 400 entries, all were subject to a fair and transparent judging process that culminated with thorough appraisals by a panel of 20 experts. In many categories the scoring was extremely close and the bronze, silver and gold winners announced at the SPIA Asia Awards Gala should be very proud of their achievement.”

Yamaguchi Wins Desert Classic – Singles Finals: Dubai World Superseries Finals 2017

Yamaguchi Wins Desert Classic – Singles Finals: Dubai World Superseries Finals 2017

Viktor Axelsen brought down the curtains on the event where his year-long stellar run began – the Dubai World Superseries Finals – with his fourth Superseries crown today.

The Dane outplayed Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in an 84-minute long Men’s Singles final, 19-21 21-19 21-15. Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi had earlier claimed the Women’s Singles crown in the most engrossing of the five finals, beating India’s Pusarla V Sindhu 15-21 21-12 21-19.

For the second time this year, Pusarla finished second-best to a Japanese in a major final that turned out to be a classic.

And just as Nozomi Okuhara outlasted the Indian in the TOTAL BWF World Championships final earlier this year in a 110-minute marathon, Okuhara’s compatriot Yamaguchi displayed the same sterling qualities in breasting the tape ahead of Pusarla in 94 minutes.

Yamaguchi’s triumph was the finest moment of her still-young career; the magnificence of her victory accentuated by the grandness of the stage on which she delivered it.

From the beginning, it was apparent that this was a contestation of warriors with contrasting qualities and approaches. Pusarla had the heavy artillery, and she pounded Yamaguchi’s fortifications without let-up during the early exchanges. With her lanky frame helping her deliver sharp clips and full-blooded smashes on either flank of her diminutive opponent, Pusarla was up and running before Yamaguchi got to grips with the attacking Indian.

The match took on a different character once the Japanese found her length. The nagging accuracy of the deep tosses began to hurt Pusarla; Yamaguchi dragged her back and forth across the court, making her lunge an extra step to reach the hairpin netshots that she conjured. Yamaguchi’s defences in better order, it was she who dictated the direction and tempo of every rally.

Pusarla’s attack had been blunted with stodgy defence; the hunter, had, in effect, been forced into a battle of attrition with the hunted. Denied the opportunities for the outright kill, Pusarla was caught in a reactive mode, but still showed great character to hang in.

Given the long drawn-out exchanges, there were sudden shifts in momentum. Yamaguchi was on a good run early in the third, only to lose patience and attempt to finish the rallies quickly, which played right into Pusarla’s hands; the Indian inched ahead at 13-9. Yamaguchi returned to type, and the match took on the contours of the famous battle between Okuhara and Pusarla not so long ago. On one occasion, with both sprawled on the floor after another excruciating rally, the crowd honoured them with a standing ovation.

At the very end, a couple of soft errors from Pusarla gave Yamaguchi the breathing space she needed. A final error from Pusarla drew curtains on her challenge.

Unusually for her, the Indian teared up while describing the heartbreak of another loss in a major final: “Of course, it’s really hard. The same thing happened in the World Championships. I have to let it go, it was a good week overall. I’d like to congratulate her. It happens.”

Yamaguchi, in her understated manner, acknowledged that this was the high point of her career: “This is the biggest moment. I’m happy I recovered from my defeat to her in the group match. That it was such a challenging match and to win through that is an incredible achievement. There were long rallies, but I was leading at the end, that gave me confidence. I knew she was getting slower at the end, but I knew she had enough energy to move quickly.”

Axelsen Outlasts Lee

Axelsen, younger and hungrier, wore down Lee. The Malaysian had his chances to take the match in the second, having erased a 14-19 deficit. Two mistakes at the critical point let him down.

Lee had been the more creative of the two, but Axelsen scrambled around and kept the points going, and his older opponent flagged with each lengthening rally.

The third game was all Axelsen’s; with both players unable to score quick smash winners, Lee opted for placement and high clears; he needed to convert the sudden openings, but the final touch deserted him. Axelsen refused to let his foot off the pedal, and there was an air of inevitability about the result early in the third even though Lee got to within a few points.

“In the second game he had a big lead, I got close but at 19-all I made a mistake on serve,” said Lee. “Viktor played better – he is younger. He was fast and was attacking all the way. He was quite confident.”

The champion, having completed his second victory in Dubai, could only marvel at his run of form: “Amazing feeling. I feel pretty awesome, to be honest, especially after such an amazing game. It’s what you dream of when you start off playing badminton as a kid. After losing the first game I tried to put on the positive glasses, so to say. I knew I had to work hard and I did that. I’m proud that I kept my cool and could go all the way.

“I seem to play pretty well here in Dubai. The tournament has been pretty good. Winning here kickstarted it all for me, and to win two titles here was great.”

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Korea Light Up Gold Coast

Korea Light Up Gold Coast

As one of the most remarkable badminton stories played out in Gold Coast yesterday, the question on most minds was – how had the Koreans done it?

A team that was, on paper, the weakest of the traditional powerhouses, and with several of their great doubles stars having either retired recently or chosen to stay away, had pulled off one of the biggest surprises in badminton history. The TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017 couldn’t have hoped for a more climactic finish on its debut in Oceania.

New head coach Kang Kyung Jin had given a hint at the beginning of the tournament of what he expected of his team.

“We’re hoping to make the final,” he’d said, but few took notice. After all, there were other teams with greater depth, balance, and more crucially, experience. The Koreans had arrived in Gold Coast with a clutch of teenagers. The vehicle essentially had to move on three wheels – Son Wan Ho in Men’s Singles, Sung Ji Hyun in Women’s Singles, and Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee in Women’s Doubles. Any other victory would be a bonus.

And yet, with Son Wan Ho unavailable for the final, it was a tribute to the Koreans’ spirit that Choi Solgyu and Chae Yoo Jung turned the tables on the super-achieving Mixed Doubles Chinese pair, Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong, who flailed about in a torrent of nervous errors.

“When we started we were asked about our Men’s Doubles, and we were called a weak team, said Kang. “We tried to build our team spirit. We were in it together, and we believed we could do it.”

At the other end of the spectrum, China’s doubles coach Zhang Jun struggled to make sense of the abject collapse of their two heralded pairs.

“I think it was a combination of pressure and tiredness,” Zhang said. “Chen Qingchen played two matches in the semi-final; the second match finished quite late and there was no time to recover. We finished our team meeting only by 2am. But we decided to persist with Chen and Jia Yifan because they had good results against the Korean pair (Chang and Lee).”

China’s singles coach Xia Xuanze sought to explain the outcome as a result of the ongoing changes in the management of the team.

“We have a new structure and a new approach, with a lot of young players,” said Xia. “We tried some new strategies. We’re facing stronger opponents than ever before. We were pushed hard in the semi-final by Japan. It’s a good thing for us, as we will motivate ourselves to work even harder.”

Korea’s victory of the World Mixed Team Championships after 14 years promises the start of a new chapter for the country and for world badminton. It has been long since Korea savoured success in a team event, or even in multiple categories at the World Superseries or BWF World Championships. Head coach Kang and his team got the best possible start they could have hoped for with a young squad.

“This is a miracle,” Kang said. “Perhaps we will get more attention and more funding now. This can be a turning point for Korean badminton.”

European Resurgence in Rio

European Resurgence in Rio

Carolina Marin & Fernando RivasWith a haul of one gold, one silver and two bronze medals, Rio saw Europe’s best-ever badminton performance at the Olympics.

It was not merely in the medals tally, but in the manner of their performances, that Europe made a statement.

Carolina Marin (featured image) went where no other European Women’s Singles player before her had, claiming the title without ever being threatened. The Spaniard has now won all of the major finals she’s been in; her speedy, take-no-prisoners brand of badminton is the new standard which her contemporaries will have to match. Considering the constraints she has had to train under – the limitations of sparring partners, for instance –  her success will no doubt inspire other hopefuls across Europe.

Her coach Fernando Rivas promised “a new Carolina” before the competition in Rio began, and that was exactly what he delivered: a super-confident Marin, unencumbered by her relative lack of success in the MetLife BWF World Superseries season this year. Rivas had spoken about having tailored a training regimen for her that is apparently different from Asian systems; will her success inspire similar innovation across the badminton world in developing unique systems for individuals?Logo

“It is more than a medal because of everything behind the medal. I have the best team behind me, they helped me a lot and were amazing,” said Marin.

What must hearten Europe was that their success wasn’t of a single country, or in a single category.

Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl came within a heartbeat of a gold medal, with a 19-16 lead in the third game of their Women’s Doubles final against Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi. The Danes had recovered from their opening defeat to China’s Luo Ying/Luo Yu, getting steadier with each match, and matching their silver medal performance from the TOTAL BWF World Championships last year.

Christinna Pedersen & Kamilla Rytter Juhl2

“Badminton is getting competitive in all categories,” said Pedersen, after the Danes had beaten Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang in the semi-finals to prevent China from making the Women’s Doubles final for the first time ever. “Before the Olympics, we discussed the possibility that it might not be China this year. It’s good for badminton. China are not dominating like they did four years ago. It could’ve been any of six or seven pairs in the final – luckily, it’s us.”

Selena Piek and Eefje Muskens performed creditably too, making the quarter-finals after finishing second in Group A. The Dutch pair beat India’s Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa and Thailand’s Puttita Supajirakul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai in their group before going down in three games to Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan in the quarter-finals.

Viktor Axelsen & Rajiv Ouseph

Viktor Axelsen lived up to pre-tournament expectations with a bronze medal in Men’s Singles. The Dane finished strongly, beating two-time champion Lin Dan in the bronze medal play-off, but he was a shade below his best in his semi-final against Chen Long.

That he was able to bounce back after his semi-final disappointment and win a podium place augurs well for the Dane and for Europe, since he is only 22 and has come close several times to winning the big titles.

Vladimir Ivanov & Ivan SozonovGreat Britain’s Rajiv Ouseph, who ran into Axelsen in the quarter-finals, too had a strong run. Ouseph’s standout performance was his three-game pre-quarter-final defeat over the stubborn Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia, after group wins over Czech Republic’s Petr Koukal and Japan’s Sho Sasaki.

“My loss in London (Olympics) stayed with me for a long time,” said Ouseph, when asked about his form. “I’ve worked very hard in training, obviously that experience (from London 2012) has helped me. I’ve been getting better and believing in myself and beating some top players has helped me against these guys.”

Other Europeans who stole the headlines in the opening week included Ukraine’s Maria Ulitina, with her upset of India’s Saina Nehwal; Estonia’s Kati Tolmoff, who shocked Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin; Ireland’s Scott Evans, a surprise winner over Germany’s Marc Zwiebler, and Bulgaria’s Linda Zetchiri, who made the Round of 16 beating Great Britain’s Kirsty Gilmour.

Europe also had big gains in Men’s Doubles. Yonex All England champions Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov finished on top of Group A beating top seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (Korea), Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin (Chinese Taipei) and Matthew Chau/Sawan Serasinghe (Australia). The Russians had their chances in their quarter-final against China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei, going down in a tight match: 21-13 16-21 21-16.

But it was Chris Langridge/Marcus Ellis who created the most ripples in the category. The Great Britain pair, whose last impressive performance was at the BWF World Championships a year ago, shot back into prominence with an upset in their first match, over Korea’s Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang. Victory over Poland’s Adam Cwalina/Przemyslaw Wacha saw them through to the quarter-finals, where they surprised Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa.

Missed chances cost them dear in their semi-final loss to China’s Zhang Nan/Fu Haifeng, but they were able to put that loss behind them in their bronze medal play-off against another Chinese pair, Chai Biao/Hong Wei. The third game won comfortably at 21-10, Langridge and Ellis were able to command the attention of the British press.

Marcus Ellis & Chris Langridge

“It’s been a surreal week,” said Ellis, who explained that all the hard training at Milton Keynes was finally bearing fruit.

“We weren’t expected to get a medal. Coming here performing the way we have, beating the pairs we have is amazing. I don’t think we’ve performed like that ever. So to do it on the very biggest stage, the pinnacle of our careers, it is amazing. And I’m so happy we’ve managed to do it together because we have had some ups and downs.”

Chris Adcock & Gabrielle Adcock

If there was disappointment for Europe, it was in Mixed Doubles. That three strong European pairs were in Group B with China’s Xu Chen/Ma Jin had much to do with it, as the quarter-finalists were decided by the slimmest of margins. Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen and Great Britain’s Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock were unlucky to miss out, while Poland’s Robert Mateusiak/Nadiezda Zieba surprised everyone by making the quarter-finals.

The stirring run of the Poles made fans sit up and wonder: 40-year-old Mateusiak had shown that badminton was not the exclusive domain of the youthful. In more than one aspect, Europe’s performance in Rio might shape the way badminton is perceived in the immediate future.

戴资颖出局-2018威克多中国公开赛第2日

戴资颖出局-2018威克多中国公开赛第2日

女单头号种子戴资颖经历了连续的头几轮出局,在2018威克多中国公开赛上输给了本土希望高昉洁,惨遭淘汰。

世界第一在八月底刚刚获得亚运会冠军,但是在上周的日本公开赛中第二轮输给了中国的陈晓欣,这一次,首轮面对19岁的高昉洁,头号种子再一次折戟,在移动和处理球上都不尽如人意,击球经常出界。

在首局失利后,戴资颖在第二局展示了主动权,犀利的正手让高昉洁措手不及,戴资颖以12-8领先。但是随后戴资颖的失误再次到来,高昉洁用时37分钟,以21-17 21-16获得胜利。

年轻的中国选手对这场轻松的胜利感到意外。“我没有想过会赢,因为我打得并不好,但是她也不在自己的最佳状态,所以我才赢了。”高昉洁说道,“她出现了很多非受迫性失误,脚步也不好。我尽量不去多想,作为一个年轻运动员,经验也不多,我的战术就是要更有侵略性。”

同样的命运差点降临在女双头号种子福岛由纪/广田彩花身上,她们苦战三局最终以21-16 14-21 26-24惊险战胜了印尼组合安吉娅/马哈德维。

印尼组合在第三局大部分时间都占据领先优势,并在23-22和24-23时手握赛点,但是日本组合依靠自身的稳定,拒绝了首轮出局的命运,在66分钟后带走了胜利。

“除了在第三局领先,我们还有一些机会去结束比赛,但是我们都没能把握住机会,”安吉娅说道,“我们尽量每次只想着当下的那一分,但是我们输掉了这场精神上的比赛。”

戴资颖连续两周早早出局的同时,日本的奥原希望参加完上周日日本公开赛决赛后仍不知疲倦,8号种子奥原用一场速胜挺进第二轮,她以21-12 21-13战胜了加拿大的李文珊。

在同一个四分之一区,世青赛冠军玛莉丝卡(印度尼西亚)经历了一场苦战,在对阵中国的陈晓欣时,两位年轻选手在这场长达一小时的比赛末尾都展现出了勇气,两人都敢于在网前争抢,也敢打压线球。最终玛莉丝卡成为了更稳定的那一个,一记杀球让比分定格在12-21 21-19 23-21。

玛莉丝卡下一轮将对阵美国的张蓓雯,后者三局战胜了泰国的拉特查诺·因达农。

福岛由纪和广田彩花是女双首轮比分最接近的胜者,因为其他所有比赛都是直落两局结束。

印度尼西亚在另一个单项中也有好的表现,阿山和亨德拉仅用时30分钟就以21-19 21-14战胜了中国的张楠/刘成,这是一场关于前世界冠军的对决。

除此之外,印度尼西亚还有两对闯入第二轮的组合,安格里亚万和哈迪安托在一小时的比赛中战胜了6号种子马德斯·佩德森/科丁(丹麦),而苏华迪/普拉塔玛则用时31分钟战胜了7号种子井上拓斗/金子佑树。

苏华迪转战混双也同样收获胜利,他与搭档苏珊托以21-15 19-21 21-16战胜了马来西亚的吴顺发/赖洁敏。

印度的兰基雷迪和蓬纳帕报了英联邦运动会上的一箭之仇,他们以21-13 20-22 21-17战胜了英格兰的埃利斯/朗格里奇。

在同一个四分之一区,马来西亚的陈健铭/赖沛君经受了丹麦组合尼古拉斯/萨拉的考验,最终比分为22-20 21-18。下一轮他们将面对4号种子邓俊文/谢影雪(中国香港),后者此前击败了俄罗斯的罗迪昂·阿利莫夫/艾莉娜·达维莱托娃。

男单项目中,李炫一继续胜利的脚步,他战胜了丹麦小将安德斯·安东森,后者也双方的三次对阵中全部败下阵来。虽然场地内风速较大,但是李炫一仍然对球有着十分出色的控制,采用了正确的节奏和进攻线路削弱了安东森,使其错失很多机会,18-21 21-19 21-18的比分让李炫一得以在下一轮面对2号种子石宇奇,后者战胜了印尼的汤米·苏吉亚托。

“他是打得更好的那一个,打得很聪明。”安东森说道,“我很沮丧,我在第二局和第三局都有领先优势,那时候我应该拿下比赛的,他有很多年的经验,他知道在比分迫近的时候应该怎么做,我喜欢比分焦灼的时候,但是今天我没能获得胜利。”

在同一个四分之一区,亚运会冠军乔纳坦(印度尼西亚)三局击败了日本的常山干太,而中国香港的伍家朗则享受了一场速胜,对手为印度的普兰诺伊,比分为21-16 21-12。

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阿迪安托/阿尔弗兰梦幻首轮-2018威克多中国公开赛第1日

阿迪安托/阿尔弗兰梦幻首轮-2018威克多中国公开赛第1日

印度尼西亚在2018威克多中国公开赛上有着梦幻的首轮,男单的金汀和男双组合阿迪安托/阿尔弗兰获得了颇具意义的胜利。

其他获得胜利的印尼选手还有混双的阿玛德/纳西尔,女双的哈里斯/普拉蒂普塔和波莉/拉哈尤。

金汀在与林丹的交手中,先输后赢,以22-24 21-5 21-19获得胜利。阿迪安托和阿尔弗兰是亚运会的银牌得主,他们在对阵3号种子嘉村健士/园田启悟时展示出了权威性,最终以.20-22 21-15 21-15获得胜利。

在首局以微弱优势获胜后,林丹丢掉第二局,决胜局一直到间歇时两人的比分都始终紧咬。年纪小很多的金汀一直保持高速的节奏,而老将则开始感到疲乏,无法及时救球,金汀17-11领先,这场比赛似乎要快速结束了。

接下来发生的事情完全出乎意料,金汀犯了一系列由于紧张而出现的错误,尽管他的教练一直敦促他把球打得高而深,但他还是把球打得很长。林丹在将比分追至18平并以19-18领先,此时金汀抓住机会,聪明地抓到了一个网前球,随后他又守在前场,迫使林丹失误,最终带走了胜利。

“我只是没办法控球,风有点大,”金汀说道,“在第三局间歇回来之后,他出现了很多失误,我获得了17-11的领先优势,也许那个时候我有点紧张了,因为他一直进攻让我变得不自信。我尝试让把球打得深一些,但是随即出现了很多失误。最后我尝试去打网前球,因为我知道如果他把球跳起来,球就会出界。”

另一位摆脱失利的的是本土偶像谌龙,他第一局失利后第二局一度以15-19落后于同胞黄宇翔,但是他突然醒悟,并连得9分,最后还带走了第三局的胜利,最终比分为20-22 21-19 21-13。

谌龙接下来要面对的是丹麦的约根森,后者同样遭遇了三局苦战,最终以18-21 21-17 21-13zhzh战胜了韩国的李东根。

头号种子安赛龙(丹麦)在于泰国选手科希特的比赛中并没有遇到赛前预想的那么多困难,科希特上周日打了大发尤尼克斯日本公开赛决赛。今天泰国人没有那么犀利,而单丹麦人则火力全开,最终丹麦人以21-12 21-15轻松获胜。

在男双赛场,最近有不俗表现的阿尔弗兰和阿迪安托击败了曾在世锦赛击败过自己的日本组合嘉村健士和园田启悟。

日本组合在以微弱优势获得开门红后节节败退。

“首局比赛我们还在调整自己,因为各种状况跟在日本公开赛的时候很不一样,”阿尔弗兰说道,“无论是球的类型还是风,所以我们用了一局时间去调整。”

“我们只是保持球在低空,而不起球。在这种情况下,你不能只依赖于防守,我们的重点是保持发球质量。”

印尼组合下一轮将要面对的是本土组合何济霆/谭强,后者三局击败了另一对日本组合保木卓朗/小林优吾。

在同一个四分之一区,印度的苏密特·雷迪和阿特里继续着最近的好状态,以13-21 21-13 21-12战胜了中华台北的廖敏竣/苏敬恒。

“最近几站我们的表现都不错,我们看了他们的比赛录像,并讨论决定我们要打一场没有高球的比赛,”阿特里说道,“这里球速很快,所以我们的战略奏效了。我互相的信任很好,我们相信彼此,在场上就能体现出来,最近几场我们的合作也比去年好多了。”

在下半区,德国的拉斯姆斯/塞德尔(德国)以21-16 21-18击败了欧烜屹/任翔宇。

“最后的时候有些激烈,”塞德尔说道,“我们有很好的领先优势,但是我认为我们有些紧张,有些压力。”

女单成池铉以20-22 21-8 21-14击败了印度的内瓦尔,这是双方11次交手中,成池铉第3次击败这位印度选手。

在其他女单比赛中,2号种子山口茜击败了马来西亚的吴堇溦,比分为23-21 12-21 21-15。山口茜的同胞大堀彩、3号种子辛德胡(印度)和5号种子陈雨菲(中国)也都成功进入第二轮。

混双奥运冠军阿玛德/纳西尔获胜的过程相当轻松,他们以21-7 21-16战胜了金子佑树/松友美佐纪。虽然印尼人赢得了当天他们大部分比赛的胜利,唯一失利的是哈菲兹·费萨尔/格洛瑞亚,他们三局苦战输给全英公开赛冠军渡边勇大/远藤大由。

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Sparkling Start by Ardianto/Alfian – Day 1: VICTOR China Open 2018

Sparkling Start by Ardianto/Alfian – Day 1: VICTOR China Open 2018

Indonesia had a bright opening day at the VICTOR China Open 2018 today, with Anthony Ginting and the Men’s Doubles pair of Muhammad Rian Ardianto and Fajar Alfian scoring significant victories.

Other Indonesian winners included Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir in Mixed Doubles, and Della Destiara Haris/Rizki Amelia Pradipta and Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu in Women’s Doubles.

Ginting nearly blew a healthy lead against Lin Dan, allowing his rival to take the match to a sticky endgame before escaping from his grasp, 22-24 21-5 21-19. Ardianto and Alfian, recent silver medallists at the Asian Games, were authoritative in a 20-22 21-15 21-15 dismantling of third seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (Japan).

After taking a close opening game against the Indonesian, Lin Dan played for a third, and stayed close until the interval. With the much-younger Indonesian keeping a hot pace, the veteran started to feel the pinch, unable to reach the shuttle in time as Ginting went 17-11 ahead and seemingly set for a quick finish.

What followed was totally off the script as Ginting then proceeded to make a series of nervous errors, driving the shuttle long even as his coach kept urging him to keep it high and deep. Lin Dan caught up at 18 and ahead at 19-18, before Ginting grabbed the moment, poaching a smart net winner. He then kept it tight at the front, forcing errors from Lin, and came away mighty relieved.

“I just couldn’t control the shuttle, the wind was a bit strong,” Ginting said. “After the interval in the third game, he made many mistakes, and I got a lead of 17-11. Maybe I got nervous after that, because he was attacking and I wasn’t confident. I tried to keep the shuttle deep, but made a lot of mistakes. At the end I tried to keep the shuttle at the net, because I knew that if he lifted it, the shuttle would go out.”

Another player to escape likely defeat was home icon Chen Long, who looked down and out against young compatriot Huang Yuxiang at 15-19 in the second game, but suddenly woke up to take the next six points in a row before demolishing his opponent in the third, 20-22 21-19 21-13.

Chen takes on Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, who too survived a three-game battle against Lee Dong Keun (Korea), 18-21 21-17 21-13.

Top seed Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) didn’t have as much trouble as he might have anticipated against Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab, who played the DAIHATSU YONEX Japan Open on Sunday. The Thai wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be against the Dane who was firing on all cylinders as he eased to a 21-12 21-15 victory.

In Men’s Doubles, Indonesia’s Alfian and Ardianto (featured image), who’ve shown great form in recent weeks, overcame the pair that easily beat them at the TOTAL BWF World Championships – Japan’s Kamura and Sonoda.

The Japanese fell away after taking a close opening game, looking increasingly weary towards the end.

“In the first game we were still adjusting to the conditions as they were very different from the Japan Open,” said Alfian. “Both the type of shuttle and the drift were different, so it took us a game to adjust.

“We just relied on keeping the shuttle low, without lobbing it up. With conditions like these, you cannot rely on defence. Our focus was on serving well and the opening exchanges.”

The Indonesians next face local pair He Jiting/Tan Qiang, who put out another Japanese pair, Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi in three games.

In the same quarter, India’s Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri, continuing with the form that they’ve displayed in recent weeks, were too good for Chinese Taipei’s Liao Min Chun/Su Ching Heng, 13-21 21-13 21-12.

“The last couple of tournaments we’ve been in good shape and good momentum; we saw their videos and discussed that we’d play a no-lob game,” said Attri. “The conditions are really fast here, so our plan worked. The confidence in each other is great, we’re believing in each other and it’s working on court. The coordination was good in the last couple of tournaments compared to the last year.”

In the bottom quarter, Germany’s Marvin Emil Seidel/Mark Lamsfuss got through a nervous endgame to beat Ou Xuanyi/Ren Xiangyu (China), 21-16 21-18.

The Germans led by a game and 20-14 before the Chinese edged closer, taking four points in a row before they were stopped.

“It was tight at the end,” said a relieved Seidel. “We had a good lead, but I think we got a little nervous. It was a little stressful.”

Among the significant results in Women’s Singles was Sung Ji Hyun’s 20-22 21-8 21-14 defeat of India’s Saina Nehwal, only her third victory over the Indian in eleven meetings.

In other Women’s Singles action, second seed Akane Yamaguchi held off a determined charge from Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei, 23-21 12-21 21-15. Yamaguchi’s compatriot Aya Ohori, third seed Pusarla V Sindhu (India) and fifth seed Chen Yufei (China) also made their way into the second round.

Mixed Doubles Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir had it rather easy against Japan’s Yuki Kaneko/Misaki Matsutomo, 21-7 21-16. With Indonesia winning most of their matches today, the only blow was to Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja, who fell in three games to All England champions Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino.

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桃田贤斗又一个里程碑——2018DAIHATSU YONEX日本公开赛

桃田贤斗又一个里程碑——2018DAIHATSU YONEX日本公开赛

桃田贤斗为日本创造了历史,因为他成为了首位获得日本公开赛男单冠军的本土选手。

在获得了亚锦赛和世锦赛冠军后,桃田闪耀的一年仍在继续,他又在2018大发·尤尼克斯日本公开赛,这个汇丰BWF世界羽联世界巡回赛750赛事中获得了冠军。在此过程中,他阻击了泰国黑马科希特,后者首次闯入主要赛事的决赛。

桃田是决赛日获得金牌的两位日本选手中的第一位,在随后一场比赛中他的同胞福岛由纪/广田彩花获得了女双金牌,然而女单本土热门选手奥原希望则被世锦赛冠军卡罗琳娜·马林(西班牙)击败。

吉迪恩/苏卡姆乔(印度尼西亚)和郑思维/黄雅琼(中国)继续着他们的统治力,分别在男双和混双中问鼎冠军,这是印尼组合今年的第6个冠军,中国组合的第5个。

“我很高兴能获得胜利,因为这是一个特别的地方,这是奥运场馆。”郑思维在和搭档黄雅琼以21-19 21-8击败同胞王懿律和黄东萍后说道,“我们和他们的水平差不多,我们探讨了很多关于我们的比赛,我们的搭档都很稳定,高水平且一直在进步,但是达到这个水平并不容易,我们经历了很多起起伏伏。“

本周,科希特展现了一些进攻型羽毛球,这也帮助他在前几轮先后击败了全英公开赛冠军石宇奇和奥运冠军谌龙。然而状态正盛的桃田贤斗则是完全不同的景象了。

半决赛,桃田将对手丹麦人安赛龙限制在底线,与之形成鲜明对比的是决赛中桃田提高了自己的攻击力,在科希特也丝毫没有退让的情况下,这场比赛的前期变得非常有趣。

两件事对泰国人不利,一是桃田提前精准的判断,总能接起泰国人本应得分的击球,二是科希特自己的紧张,这也可能是由于进入决赛消耗了太多的体力。在一个斜线扣杀压底线比分来到14-16后,科希特随即出现一个发球下网,下一分科希特又打出一个相似的杀球,但是出界,这些失误给了桃田机会,比赛来到第二局。

值得称赞的是,泰国人仍能继续向前推进,又一记重杀帮助他将比分追至9平。但随后他又出现失误,尽管他有时表现得很出色,但很明显,面对一个几乎不犯任何错误的对手,科希特并不是最好的。随着最后一记斜线扣杀落地,桃田贤斗跪倒在地,这次他的庆祝动作比世锦赛夺冠更激动。

“我从来没有想过能作为冠军站在这里,”桃田说道,“感谢所有人的支持,我很高兴能向大家展示我的进步,在这里夺冠是一个梦想。”

在女双决赛中,本土希望福岛由纪/广田彩花击退了亚运会冠军陈清晨/贾一凡,比分为21-15 21-12,这与2017世锦赛决赛的结果大相径庭。

福岛由纪和广田彩花在陈清晨和贾一凡面前建立了一道坚不可摧的墙,福岛犀利的后场进攻和广田中场强有力的截击让中国组合一直处于压力之下,陈清晨必须要为后场的搭档补位,而这也让她自己的水平有所下降。

一个现象级的83拍多拍帮助日本组合获得了首局的局点,第二局中段,可以看出陈清晨和贾一凡明显体力不支,日本队的连续杀球得分也让中国组合信心受挫,最终的一个多拍胜利让日本组合在本土赛事中完成了夺冠。

马林设定节奏

如果奥原希望获得胜利,那就意味着东道主在日本公开赛上获得了史无前例的三金,但是事实并非如此,在一场74分钟的鏖战后,卫冕冠军卡罗琳娜·马林以21-19 17-21 21-11守住了冠军奖杯。

回顾比赛,奥原将为自己在首局比赛中错失的机会懊悔,因为这在一定程度上决定了比赛的方向,日本选手在首局建立了明显的领先优势,但是马林却适时反扑,从对手的失误中寻找到机会,在19-16时,奥原希望似乎就要带走这一局的胜利了,但是马林却继续加快节奏,并击溃对手。

尽管在第二局中奥原希望恢复水准并赢下该局,但是第三局她的体力和精力都有所下降,马林10-1的领先证明了奥原兵器库里的子弹已所剩无几。

“我很高兴能在我赞助商国家获得胜利,”马林说道,“我为这场决赛准备了很多,也非常奏效。在获得了像奥运会这样的大型比赛的金牌后,保持对羽毛球的热情就比较困难,我和我的团队休息了一阵,也制定了一些计划,说出‘我想获得奥运金牌’或者‘我想夺冠军’很简单,但是去付诸行动很难。所以我在训练中一定要做到最好。”

奥原希望承认马林的节奏让一切变得不同:“我在赛事中的状态并不是很好,所以闯入决赛对我而言已经很棒了。我让她打出了风格,所以我就很难打出自己的节奏了。能再次感受马林的速度是件好事,我几乎快要忘记她有多快了,因为我们自从2017年世锦赛之后已经一年多没有交过手了。”

小黄人不可阻挡

李俊慧和刘雨辰在8月问鼎了世锦赛冠军,但他们此次的表现没有达到大家的预期。中国组合,尤其是李俊慧经历了糟糕的一天,他们的水平低于标准水平,而吉迪恩和苏卡姆乔则在他们之上。

中国组合开局并没有紧迫感,满足于挑高球迫使对方进攻,两人也没有在接发球上有任何威胁。仅在第二局开局,中国组合略微展现了他们的真实风格,触发了一些激烈的回合。李俊慧的失误——发球不稳定和移动迟缓,给了印尼组合足够多的机会,印尼组合也顺势以21-11 21-13获得了胜利。这是他们2018年第6次进入决赛,也是第6次获得冠军,自2017年10月起保持了他们决赛不败的战绩。

“我觉得他们今天有点慢,”吉迪恩说道,“在这个赛事中我们出现了一些棘手的状况,但是我们总是尽力做好每一个回合。我们在形势不好的时候测试了很多战术,并且不到最后时刻都不放弃,我们相信为了胜利这是正确的态度。”

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科希特桃田贤斗会师决赛 —— 2018日本公开赛半决赛

科希特桃田贤斗会师决赛 —— 2018日本公开赛半决赛

科希特令人兴奋的第一次闯入决赛,而桃田贤斗则平静的面对自己本年度的第47场胜利,两人分别在2018日本公开赛男单半决赛中收获胜利。

泰国人科希特世界排名仅第26,此前从来没有在这种级别的赛事中走到这么远,这一次他又以强大的进攻能力终结了本次公开赛另一匹黑马李东根,比分是21-12 21-16。机敏的防守和不屈不挠的进攻,这些帮助科希特在这场半决赛中没有经历太多挑战,也让他兴奋地跪地庆祝自己的晋级。

桃田贤斗自从2017年7月归来后,已经完成了一些里程碑,这一次他又向另一个成就迈出重要一步。如果决赛最终获胜,桃田贤斗将成为日本公开赛历史中,第一位夺得男单冠军的本土球员。

同样另外两场决赛,东道主选手也有冲击冠军的希望,奥原希望闯入了女单决赛,福岛由纪/广田彩花则进入到女双冠军争夺战。

这场桃田贤斗和安赛龙的半决赛可以分成截然不同的两部分,安赛龙此前只在过去9次交手中战胜过一次桃田贤斗,那还是在2014年2月份的事情。而不同寻常的是,开局阶段,这是一场底线到底线的较量,同时散布着一些杀扣结合。

一次多回合的争夺后往往又是下一次更多回合的较量,而这也是一场考验双方间耐心和决心的较量。安赛龙的最佳时段就是出现在一次多回合较量后,他连续快速拿分,一度在首局握有17-13的领先。

然而,正是从这之后,比赛开始逆转了,和之前完全不同。桃田贤斗此后一直在寻找机会,也不给对手任何机会,而此时安赛龙的漫不经心则帮助了自己的对手。桃田贤斗很快就追平了比分,而安赛龙又经历了一次判断失误。之后的几次较量,则让桃田贤斗很快就掌握了比赛的走势。

拿下首局后,比赛的走势开始向桃田贤斗倾斜,第二局开局,桃田贤斗发挥的更加自如,同时让安赛龙陷入困境。在网前,桃田贤斗的发挥是无可挑剔的,总是刚刚好的把羽毛球打过,同时又不错过任何一次可能的进攻机会。而此时,丹麦人又失去了开赛初期的韧性,而桃田贤斗只需要在比赛中全力发挥就可以拿到胜利。安赛龙的一记无力回球让日本人只浪费了一个赛点就拿到了最后的胜利。这是一场对于纪律的考验,而桃田贤斗21-18 21-11笑到最后。

女单决赛将在新科世锦赛冠军西班牙人马林和奥原希望之间展开。马林在半决赛轻松地以21-12 21-13战胜陈雨菲,而奥原希望则以21-12 21-12击败同胞大堀彩。

在男双赛场,印度尼西亚的吉迪恩/苏卡姆乔将有机会争夺本年度的又一项锦标,他们在半决赛经受住了中国小将何济霆/谭强的考验。

印度尼西亚人在第二局以14-21不敌对手,不过他们之后在决胜局及时调整,并最终以21-16 14-21 21-13击败对手。他们的下一个对手将是同样来自中国的李俊慧/刘雨辰,这是一场亚运会冠军同世锦赛冠军的较量。印度尼西亚人在过去八次交手中获胜七次,最近一次决赛失利还是在2017年10月的丹麦公开赛。

女双决赛将会上演一场2017年世锦赛的重演,中国的陈清晨/贾一凡将会对战福岛由纪/广田彩花。

福岛由纪/广田彩花主宰了同印度尼西亚人波莉/拉哈尤的开局,但是随着比赛深入,随之变得愈加激烈,甚至印度尼西亚人一度在第二局17-14领先,不过之后头号种子赢得了之后8分中的7分,并以21-12 21-18进入决赛。

在另一场半决赛,三号种子陈清晨/贾一凡并没有遭遇太多阻挠,就以21-17 21-15击败同胞杜玥/李茵晖。

王懿律/黄东萍将会在混双决赛再次迎来队友郑思维/黄雅琼,本年度双方此前已经交手四次,包括今年的世锦赛决赛,而决赛将是给予王懿律/黄东萍的又一次机会。

王懿律/黄东萍以21-15 21-17击败东道主选手渡边勇大/东野有纱后,第四次闯入决赛,而这场失利也是日本组合连续第四次不敌王懿律/黄东萍。

尽管这场比赛长达52分钟,但是中国组合丝毫没有失去对比赛的控制,这主要是因为王懿律在球场上的强大表现,他在后场的连续杀球给了队友很多支持。而黄东萍同样发挥出色,没给日本人任何机会。

东野有纱在网前的移动和平时一样,不过渡边勇大的表现确实令人失望。这位左撇子球员并不能像王懿律一样给予对手压力,而对手则非常有信心的防守着渡边勇大,甚至总是故意引诱渡边勇大回球。

而在之前的一场半决赛里,世锦赛冠军郑思维/黄雅琼则第六次闯入今年赛事的决赛,他们以21-16 17-21 21-14击败了马来西亚的陈炳顺/吴柳莹。

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Phetpradab, Momota in Title Clash – Day 5: DAIHATSU YONEX Japan Open 2018

Phetpradab, Momota in Title Clash – Day 5: DAIHATSU YONEX Japan Open 2018

Khosit Phetpradab’s inspiring run into his first major final, and Kento Momota’s serene march to his 47th match victory this year, headlined the semi-finals action at the DAIHATSU YONEX Japan Open 2018 today.

Thailand’s Phetpradab, World No.26, has never gone this far in a tournament of this level, and that he accomplished with yet another powerful attacking performance against another surprise semi-finalist, Korea’s Lee Dong Keun, 21-12 21-16. Agile in defence and unrelenting in attack, Phetpradab sank to the floor after the fifth of his diving retrievals on match point fell unchallenged in Lee’s court.

Momota, who has achieved a few milestones for Japan since his comeback in July 2017, moved one step closer to yet another accomplishment. If he wins tomorrow, Momota will become the first Japanese to win a Men’s Singles title at the Japan Open.

There will be local interest in two other matches as well, as Nozomi Okuhara in Women’s Singles and Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota in Women’s Doubles entered the title round.

The Momota-Axelsen semi-final was a match with two distinct parts. Axelsen, who had only one win against the Japanese – dating back to February 2014 – in nine previous matches, settled down for marathon rallies. Unusually for Men’s Singles, it was all mostly high clears, baseline to baseline action, interspersed with some probing drop shots.

A 50-shot rally was followed by one of 60 shots, followed by one yet longer, as both decided to pitch their tents, so to speak, in a test of the other’s patience and resolve. Axelsen’s best phase came after one such rally, and he capitalised to fire off some quick winners and go 17-13 ahead.

It was at this stage that the game turned, totally against the run of play. Momota stayed in the hunt, giving nothing away, while Axelsen helped his rival’s cause with some loose play. Momota quickly drew level, and then Axelsen gave out all the wrong signals with a bizarre shot between his legs from the baseline after initially appearing to let it fall. A few other wide shots followed, and soon Momota was ensconced firmly in the driving seat.

With momentum on his side, Momota opened up in the second, playing with greater liberty and keeping Axelsen guessing. At the net he was impeccable, keeping the shuttle just over the tape and pouncing on anything that rose just above. To add to Axelsen’s woes, the Dane just did not show the stubbornness he had for the early part of the match, and Momota only had to play well within himself for the inevitable win. The Japanese converted on the first of his nine match points as Axelsen returned weakly into the net. It had been a test of discipline, and Momota had prevailed: 21-18 21-11.

The Women’s Singles final will feature current World champion Carolina Marin (Spain) against her predecessor, Nozomi Okuhara. Marin enjoyed a breezy victory over China’s Chen Yufei, 21-12 21-13, while Okuhara was just as comfortable against compatriot Aya Ohori, 21-12 21-12.

‘Minions’, Yet Again

In Men’s Doubles, Indonesia’s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo earned a shot at their sixth major title this year, recovering from a mini-crisis today against China’s He Jiting/Tan Qiang.

The Indonesians were outgunned by the upcoming Chinese 21-14 in the second game before they recovered their wits and imposed themselves early in the third: 21-16 14-21 21-13. They next take on China’s Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen in a clash between the Asian Games champions and the World champions. The Indonesians have won all of their last eight finals; their last defeat in a final being at the Denmark Open in October 2017.

The Women’s Doubles final will be a rematch of the 2017 World Championships final between eventual winners Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan (China) and Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota.

Fukushima and Hirota were dominant against Indonesia’s Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu to begin with, but it was a more dogged contest as the match progressed, and the Japanese had their backs to the wall at 14-17 in the second before they won seven of the last eight points, and with it the match, 21-12 21-18.

In the other semi-final, third seeds Chen/Jia did not have as much trouble, as they stayed ahead of compatriots Du Yue/Li Yinhui all through the match, 21-17 21-15.

World Championships Repeat

Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping (featured image) have fallen to compatriots Zheng Siwei and Huang Dongping in all four of their encounters this year, including the World Championships final. Tomorrow will give them a chance to make amends.

The Chinese pair reached their fourth major final this year with a comprehensive 21-15 21-17 victory over local hopefuls Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino. It was their fourth straight defeat of the Japanese.

And while it might have taken them 52 minutes, the Chinese never relinquished control. Most of that was due to the superlative play of Wang Yilyu, who was a powerful presence around the court, and his fusillade from the back meant Huang Dongping only had to hold her end up. That she did admirably, giving the Japanese no leeway.

For their part, while Higashino was as usual electric in her movements at the net, Watanabe disappointed. The left-hander couldn’t impose himself on the game like his opposite number, and so confident were the Chinese of defending against him that they frequently employed the flick serve, inviting him to smash.

In an earlier semi-final, World champions Zheng/Huang reached their sixth final this year beating Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying 21-16 17-21 21-14 in an hour-long battle.

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科希特延续梦想 —— 2018日本公开赛第四日

科希特延续梦想 —— 2018日本公开赛第四日

科希特的梦想仍然在2018日本公开赛中继续延续,在这一天他第一次闯入这个级别赛事的半决赛。

这位现世界排名第26位的泰国人利用侵略性的防守支撑着自己前行,这也帮助他以21-19 24-22击败2011年的冠军谌龙。

他在半决赛的对手将是本次比赛的另一个惊喜——李东根,后者在这一天淘汰了七号种子斯里坎特,而在上半区,卫冕冠军安赛龙将会在半决赛面对世锦赛冠军桃田贤斗。桃田有可能成为第一位在本土获得男单冠军的日本选手。

科希特此前在首轮就击败了全英冠军石宇奇,之后他又以同样的方式继续在比赛中前进,攻防两端都展示了自己出色的反应能力,特别是当他赢得进攻机会的时候,便会因此试压给对手。不过谌龙在首局一度掌握局势,并取得17-11的领先,但是之后一切都改变了。泰国人仿佛此时被施加了咒语,连得9分后改变了比赛。之后,泰国人利用自己的防守,让谌龙无可奈何。

泰国人依然在第二局展示自己的不屈不挠,使得谌龙开始受挫并以13-17落后科希特。然而,中国人之后展示追分势头,甚至一度拿到局点,但是科希特并没有被困难左右,而是顶住了来自谌龙的挑战。最终科希特以一记致命杀球结束比赛,也让谌龙被淘汰出局。

科希特的半决赛对手将是李东根,后者在一场历时78分钟的鏖战里以19-21 21-16 21-18逆转斯里坎特。

桃田贤斗和林丹的比赛之前被广泛期待,毕竟这是一场当世天才和不老传奇的较量。两人此前仅有一次交手,那还是在三年前,当时林丹获得胜利。

但是如今的桃田却很不同,正处于自己的巅峰状态下,几乎清除了挡住他前进的每一个对手。林丹也感受到了来自桃田的青春活力和控制技巧,也因此一直处于被动局面下。林丹在两局比赛中都以较大比分失利,这也是因为桃田一直掌握主动,一直利用回球在牵制林丹,同时桃田在场上表现的予取予求。最终桃田贤斗以21-8 21-10击败林丹。

“我知道每个回合会很长,”桃田贤斗说道。“我必须确保我没有恐慌,并专注于自己的节奏,因此比赛也一直在我的计划中进行,能在本土作战对我来说很特别,这也给了我额外动力去赢得比赛。”

最大的惊喜还是来自女双赛场,世锦赛冠军松本麻佑/永原和可那不敌中国组合杜玥/李茵晖。尽管八号种子有主场观众的助威加成,但是依然以16-21 10-21不敌中国人。下半区中将会上演中国组合的对抗,杜玥/李茵晖将会在半决赛迎战亚运会冠军陈清晨/贾一凡,后者在八强战中淘汰了同胞汤金华/于小含。日本在女双项目中的希望将会完全寄托在头号种子福岛由纪/广田彩花身上,两人将在半决赛对阵印度尼西亚的波莉/拉哈尤。

女单半决赛将会看到日本两位选手奥原希望和大堀彩的直接较量。奥原希望在对阵富有攻击性的陈晓欣时,展示出了自己的顽强,陈晓欣此前曾经令人惊喜地战胜戴资颖。这一场对决陈晓欣也再次发起冲击,但是奥原希望用自己的经验化解了这些。第二局比赛陈晓欣一度15-12领先,不过奥原希望还是逆转了比赛,并以21-17 21-16淘汰陈晓欣。

然而,中国队还是可以从陈雨菲这里得到安慰,她以21-13 15-21 21-15击败主场作战的山口茜。半决赛陈雨菲的对手将是世锦赛冠军马林,后者以21-18 21-19击败泰国人因达农。

混双世锦赛冠军郑思维/黄雅琼在面对同胞张楠/李茵晖时没有丝毫松懈,以21-10 21-13击败队友,马来西亚的陈炳顺/吴柳莹将是“雅思组合”的下一个对手。而在另一个半区,将会由日本的渡边勇大/东野有纱挑战中国的王懿律/黄东萍。

日本队在男双项目中遭遇全军覆没,此前仅剩的一对组合保木卓朗/小林优吾也在四分之一决赛不敌何济霆/谭强。另外一对中国组合世锦赛冠军李俊慧/刘雨辰则以22-20 18-21 21-14击败印度尼西亚组合阿迪安托/阿尔弗兰,“双塔组合”将会在半决赛对阵中华台北的陈宏麟/王齐麟。

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Umpire Training Resources Available

Umpire Training Resources Available

As part of BWF’s long-term strategy to grow the number and quality of technical officials around the world, BWF is developing educational resources for each type of technical official: Referee, Umpire, and Line Judge.

These resources are intended to provide much-needed support to all member associations, but in particular, those who do not have any educational material and resources for training technical officials at the national level.

We encourage all member associations to direct their members and any interested individuals to access these resources by registering on the BWF Education site (linked here).

The Level 1 Umpires’ Manual is now available for download from the BWF Education site, and the supporting videos are available for viewing at BadmintonWorld.TV (linked here):

Level 1 Line Judges Manual

As announced at the  BWF Annual General Meeting in May and in a memo to member associations on 11 June, the BWF Line Judge Educational Resource is now available for download from the BWF Education website (linked here). See the announcement (linked here).

Level 1 Referees’ Manual

In the coming months BWF will release the Level 1 Referees’ Manual which is focused on how to referee up to the national level.

Technical Officials Resources 2019

In 2019 BWF plans to release the following:

  • Member Association Resource Guide – to guide member associations how to set-up governance structures and strategies for technical officials development, and how to recruit and develop technical officials using the BWF Educational Resources, including practical training and evaluation guidelines.
  • Level 2 Umpires’ Manual – how to umpire up to the continental level.
  • Level 2 Referees’ Manual – how to referee up to the continental level.

 

If you have any questions related to this resource or how your members can access it, please contact the following people:

Christopher Trenholme – Senior Technical Events Manager – [email protected]

Sharon  Springer – BWF Educational Resources Manager Sharon Springer –  [email protected]