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YONEX OPEN JAPAN 2014 Kicks Off in Tokyo

Date
10 June 2014

The Curtain Rises: Thomas Cup Hero Kento Momota Takes on European Champion Jan O Jorgensen; Defending Champion Akane Yamaguchi Takes on World No. 1 Li Xuerui

Wednesday June 11th, marks day two of Yonex Open Japan, with the first rounds of all events getting under way. All the mighty shuttlers representing their respective countries will finally make their way to the arena.

The Big Match in Men’s Singles: Kento Momota VS Jan O Jorgensen

In midst of this dramatic tournament, Japanese player Kento Momota (JPN) may have some surprises in store for us. Despite only just making his Thomas Cup debut this year, he won all five of his matches there, helping to bring the Japanese team their historic victory. With his global ranking jumping from 55 to 11 within the year, propelled by his performance in the Thomas Cup, he’s in the mood to take down world No. 3 Jan O Jorgensen.

Men’s singles is also bringing a heated match between a veteran and a young up-and-comer, with Japan’s Sho Sasaki (JPN) going up against Denmark’s rising star, Viktor Axelsen. Rival to Kento Momota of the same age, Viktor has eyes on him to be the successor to Peter Gade (DEN) who brought victory to Europe at just 20 years old. How will the 195-cm-tall Viktor take on 31-year-old Sho? With Sho’s hard smashes, it should prove to be an intense match.

It goes without saying that the Japanese team, currently riding a wave of success, should deliver plays worth keeping an eye on. Fostering some of the strongest feelings for Yonex Open Japan, Japanese ace Kenichi Tago will go up against South Korea’s 23-year-old Lee Dong Keun, with pretty boy Takuma Ueda (JPN)—who decided this year’s Thomas Cup for Japan—facing off against India’s Gurusaidutt R.M.V.

“I will aim for nothing but victory in my matches,” commented Kenichi, proving for some intense battles of spirit in the opening matches.

Showdown Between London Olympic Gold Medallist Li Xuerui and Defending Champion Akane Yamaguchi

In women’s singles, London gold medallist Li Xuerui (CHN) will finally be able to exhibit her brilliant plays in Japan for the first time. Ranked number 1 in the world, making full use of her bold physique with the elegant attacks typical of Chinese badminton, Xuerui will take on defending champion Akane Yamaguchi (JPN), who snagged Japan’s first victory at Yonex Open Japan last year at the young age of 16.

“It doesn’t matter if I win. I want to see how far I can take my own power,” commented Akane.  Despite her short build at 156 cm, Akane has sharp wit, hits flawlessly, and commands very accurate rallies. Will she be able to find a crack in the Chinese Olympic champion’s impenetrable wall?

Another match that will definitely deliver intense rallies matches up 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon (VTZF2, SHBF1NLX)(THA) and Liu Xin (CHN).

Coming to Japan as the world champion last year, Ratchanok suddenly had to forfeit due to a particularly bad old wound that had opened back up. More than anyone else, she 100% wants to claim victory in her beloved Japan. “This year I will do my best and win,” commented Ratchanok. With her strong hits and plays, she intends to capture victory over China’s machine-like badminton.

Other great matches to look forward to include Japanese champion Minatsu Mitani (JPN) against European champion Carolina Marin (NR-ZSP, SHBF1NLTD)(ESP). Defined by her enthusiastic plays, the 20-year-old Carolina is Europe’s rising star. “When it comes to tenacity, I don’t want to lose to anybody,” proclaimed Mitani with determination. Fans are eagerly waiting to see who will come out on top.

Repeat of Thomas Cup Final in Men’s Doubles

If there’s anything to look out for in doubles tomorrow, it has to be men’s doubles. The distinguished pair who brought Japan its Thomas Cup, Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa (JPN) will face Malaysia’s Tan Boon Heong (NR-ZSP). Tan Boon Heong paired up with Hoon  Thien How (VTZF), and lost to Japan’s aces in the third game with a frustrating 19 points. Paired up with Goh V Shem (ARC11), the plan to take revenge in this year’s Yonex Open Japan, and it goes without saying that the Japanese pair wants to bring home another victory.

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