Japan had four chances to claim titles in Melbourne and dominate the week but had to settle for just three from the four. The anticipated return of Wang Lin ended at the semi final stage as another Chinese woman stole the show in the women’s singles, which Japan had interest in the other four events.
The day started with title number one for Japan, as 4th seeded Matsuo and Naito defeated the unseeded Malaysian pair of Chin and Wong in a 21-18, 21-11 victory in 43 minutes.The chance for title number two was immediate with 5th seeded Hashimoto and Fujii taking on the 2nd seeded Thai pairing of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul. However the Japanese domination took a massive blow with the 2nd seeded Thai’s winning in impressive fashion, defeating Hashimoto and Fujii 21-15, 21-9 in just 31 minutes.
It was China’s turn next to win in impressive fashion as Liu Xin finished her excellent week with a highly impressive win over the 6th seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in a one-sided 21-14, 21-9 to ensure that Thailand’s title tally for the week was just one. The 4th final of the day ensured a second Japanese title as 5th seeded Endo and Hayakawa defeated their 4th seeded team-mates Kawamae and Sato in a tight two game match which seen the lower seeded pair take the title in 39 minutes.
The final match of the day seen 6th seeded Sho Sasaki against the 8th seeded Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia, after both player exchanged a game apiece, the final game was perfectly poised at 17-17, with Sho Sasaki stringing together an invaluable two point streak to take it to 19-17 and the 8th seeded Wong could never get back on level terms, with Sasaki taking the 3rd game 21-19 to claim the title and Japan’s third of the week.
All five of the top seeds reached the last 8 without much concern, but the quarter final was a hurdle that two top seeds stumbled at and opened the draw up for fellow team-mates and other seeded players to take advantage of.
Boonsak Ponsana was the first top seed to crash out today, losing in three games to the 9th seeded Tommy Sugiarto which opened the door for Tien Minh Nguyen to potentially take the title. That prospect lasted a mere hour as the 2nd seeded Nguyen lost to 6th seeded Sho Sasaki in another lengthy three game encounter to further open up the men’s singles draw.
An all-Chinese final is a real possibility in the women’s singles, with top seeded Liu Xin defeating 8th seeded Sayaka Sato to reach the last 4 where she will take on Inthanon Ratchanok of Thailand in the first of the semi finals. The other semi final is another Thailand v China clash, with 6th seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk taking on the unseeded Wang Lin with both secure two game victories in their quarter finals to reach the last 4.
The men’s doubles is loaded with Japanese pairs and of the four remaining duos, the highest seed still in the draw is the 5th seeded Endo and Hayakawa who defeated the 3rd seeded Gan and Tan to reach the last 4. Their opponents in the semi final are the top seeded Japanese pair of Hashimoto and Hirata who have failed to drop a game to date. The second semi final sees the 4th seeded Kawamae and Sato, also of Japan take on the 2nd seeded Chandra and Gunawan. Both duos have been on top form this week and have failed to drop a game to date.
The top seeded Fujii and Kakiiwa crashed out in the women’s doubles to the Malaysian pair of Chin and Wong in a tight three game match. They set up a semi final match against another unseeded pair in the Hong Kong duo of Poon and Tse, who defeated the 3rd seeded Singapore pairing of Yao and Sari. The other semi final features another unseeded pair in the Chinese partnership of Xiong and Ou, who take on the only seed left in the draw in Matsuo and Naito of Japan, the 4th seeds who have failed to drop a game to date this week.
The mixed doubles is another event with 4 of the top 5 seeds left in the draw, with top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam defeating Widianto and Natsir to reach the last 4 against the 5th seeded pair of Hashimoto and Fujii, who defeated the 4th seeded Wong and Chau to reach the semi final. The other semi final is another Thailand – Japan match up with the 3rd seeded Ikeda and Shiota taking on the Thai 2nd seeds of Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul, who defeated the unseeded Malaysia pair of Ng and Tan in a three game match late on Friday evening.
Day 4 Results:
An excellent field has been whittled down to just 8 in each of the events, with a few unseeded players making headway in the event as well as the welcome return of China’s Wang Lin after a knee operation sidelined her for over 6 months.
Top seed Boonsak Ponsana progressed through both his matches to reach the last 8 and a match against the 9th seeded Tommy Sugiarto from Indonesia. Sugiarto defeated the 5th seeded Kazushi Yamada in his 3rd round match to progress into the quarters. Unseeded Takuma Ueda is also into the last 8 after his victory over the 3rd seeded Hu Yun to set up his quarter final match against Wong Choong Hann, seeded 8. The pick of tomorrow’s quarter final matches sees the 2nd seeded Tien Minh Nguyen taking on the 6th seeded Sho Sasaki, with the Japanese player in excellent form this week as he has progressed into the last 8 without the loss of a game.
Chinese interest is available in both halves of the women’s singles draw, with top seeded Liu Xin taking on Sayaka Sato of Japan in the top match of the quarter finals. In the bottom half, Wang Lin has returned to action with a stunning 21-19, 21-9 win over the 2nd seeded Yip Pui Yin in her opening round match, before defeating Ayana Kurihana in two games to book her place in the quarter final against Adrianti Firdasari of Indonesia, who defeating Ai Goto in her opening round match earlier in the week.
The seeds are well represented in both doubles events, with a distinct Japanese feel to both events. Hashimoto and Hirata are the top seeds in the men’s doubles and have been nothing short of impressive in reaching the last 8. The pick of the matches in the men’s doubles sees the 3rd seeded Malaysians Gan and Tan take on the 5th seeded Endo and Hayakawa of Japan. The top seeds in the women’s doubles, Fujii and Kakiiwa are through to take on the dangerous Malaysia pair of Chin and Wong in their quarter final match. Matsuo and Naito are the seeded Japanese seeds in the last 8, with the 4th seeded pair taking on Choo and Veeran of Australia in their quarter final match up.
The top 7 seeds are all present in the quarter final of the mixed doubles, with the 8th seeded Lee and Lun of the USA defeated by Tan and Ng of Malaysia, who take on Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul in the quarter final. The other Thai pair in the draw is the top seeded Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam who take on the 6th seeded Indonesian pair of Widianto and Natsir in their quarter final match.