The weekend will be without some of the top players in the world, with the Chinese squad pulling out before the start of play over rising political tensions with Japan which opened up the draw for the field but resulted in some big names crashing out in the early stages.
Lee Chong Wei Into Last 4
Lee Chong Wei’s first tournament since his heartbreaking defeat in London has been a straight forward progression into the semi finals, with impressive wins over Anand Pawar, Chong Wei Feng and Viktor Axelsen setting up a semi final with Simon Santoso. The 3rd seed has been equally as impressive as the Malaysian, with a 21-9, 21-14 victory over Taufik Hidayat booking his place in the last 4.
Hu Yun has been an impressive run of form recently and it continued with an opening round victory over the 2nd seeded Peter Gade, playing his final event in Japan in his “retirement tour” that will end with the two upcoming European Super Series events in Denmark and France. The unseeded Hong Kong player defeated Tien Minj Nguyen to book his place in the semi finals, where he will take on Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand who ended Sho Sasaki’s run at the second round with a 21-12, 21-12 victory.
Baun Crashes Out
The top seed after the mass withdrawal of the Chinese squad was Tine Baun, who reached the last 8 without much resistance but was defeated by Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in three games today. The 6th seeds reward is a semi final against home favourite, Eriko Hirose who started the week unseeded but in her quarter final match defeated the 4th seeded Bae Yeon Ju of Korea to book her place in the the last 4.
The second semi final sees Tai Tzu Ying take on Sung Ji Hyun of Korea, with both players entering the week as seeded players but it was the higher seeded Korean player who struggled the most on route to the semi finals and needed three games to defeat the 8th seeded Ai Goto in the quarter finals.
Top Seeds Struggle In Doubles
Boe and Mogensen were the second Danish top seed to crash out early this week, losing in the second round to Indonesia’s Dasuki and Gunawan in three games. The second seeded Koo and Tan had no such problems in reaching the last 4, where they will take on another Malaysian pair in Hoon and Tan for a place in Sunday’s final.
Fujii and Kakiiwa were the big Japanese hope this week, but they lost out to Japanese team mates Yonemoto and Miki in their opening game this week. The other big Japanese hope, Maeda and Suetsuna are safely into the last 4 where they will take on Poon and Tse of Hong Kong for a chance at a Japanese title on Sunday. Matsuo and Naito have the opportunity to make it an all-Japanese final if they defeat the unseeded Choi and Kim in the second semi final.
Chan and Goh are the last of the top seeds remaining in the doubles events, defeating two Japanese pairs to book their place in the last 4 against another Japanese pair, Kamura and Yonemoto. The second semi final sees the 2nd seeded Ikeda and Shiota of Japan take on the 5th seeded Rijal and Natsir for a place in Sunday’s final with the Japanese pair progressing without the loss of a game this week.