The Yonex Open Japan 2015 is the seventh Super-series event of the year in the BWF’s 2015 calendar. The tournament has attracted world’s best players, who are chasing ranking points for the year-ending Dubai World Super-series Finals as well as next year’s Rio Olympics. Every match is being keenly fought as evidenced by first day’s play on September 9, 2015. Indian badminton stars Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy have entered the second round while it was curtains for PV Sindhu, Ajay Jayaram, B Sai Praneeth, Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa and Pradnya Gadre/N Sikki Reddy. World champion and top women’s seed Carolina Marin had her hands full as she needed three games and 74 minutes to survive against Japan’s Yui Hashimoto. 5-time world champion Lin Dan had a tough time as well as he needed 94 minutes, during which he saved six match points against Korea’s Son Wan Ho. Lin Dan finally prevailed in three tough games. The day’s biggest upset was the exit of Australian Open champions China’s Tang Yuanting/Ma Jin. The world no.7 pair was undone by the spectacular display by Korea’s Yoo Hae Won/Go Ah Ra, who brought the turnaround after being down two match points against the Chinese.
Women’s world no.1 and second seed Saina had a rather comfortable first game against Thailand’s Busanan Ongbumrungpan but the Thai woman caused a harrowing time for Saina in the second before the Indian prevailed with a 21-14 22-20 victory. Saina’s second round opponent will be Japan’s Minatsu Mitani, who defeated another Indian PV Sindhu in a grueling one-hour encounter before the Japanese beat the Indian 23-13, 17-21, 21-11. In men’s singles draw, P Kashyap got lucky to be given a walk-over by Japan’s Takuma Ueda after he retired midway due to a back injury. Kashyap will next face compatriot Kidambi Srikanth, who had an easy time against Ireland’s Scott Evans in a 21-18 21-15 victory. Another Indian, H S Prannoy also entered the second round with a thrilling 23-21 22-20 victory against Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent. Prannoy will next take on Korea’s Lee Dong Keun. Other than PV Sindhu’s loss, it was a disappointing day for women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who lost 20-22, 21-18, 13-21 to China’s eighth seeds Zhao Yunlei and Zhong Qianxin in a 54-minute match. Other Indian women’s doubles pair of Pradnya Gadre/N Sikki Reddy also lost 6-21, 17-21 to Japan’s top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi. In men’s singles draw, two other Indians made first round exits. B Sai Praneeth lost 21-23, 10-21 to Korea’s Lee Dong Keun and Ajay Jayaram went down 10-21, 10-21 to no.7 seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
China’s no.5 seed Lin Dan was pushed hard by Korea’s Son Wan Ho, who held match six match points against the Chinese. But Dan pulled through with a 17-21, 25-23, 21-17 victory in a 94-minute match. The Super Dan next takes on Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, who dropped the first game against Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana before prevailing 10-21, 21-15, 21-16. China’s Top seed Chen Long had an easy match against England’s Rajiv Ouseph, whom he defeated 21-10, 21-14 in 38 minutes. Women’s top seed Carolina Marin of Spain lost a hard-fought first game 27-29 before rebounding in next two games to record a 27-29, 21-15, 21-18 win against Japan’s Yui Hashimoto.
The best match of the day was women’s doubles encounter between China’s Tang Yuanting/Ma Jin and Korea’s Yoo Hae Won/Go Ah Ra. Although Tang’s blazing smashes and Ma’s smart net-play allowed the Chinese an early advantage, the Koreans got their act together in the second game. It was a close game with thrilling rallies that left the players exhausted. The Chinese held a match point but the Koreans managed to take the match to the decider. In the third game, the Chinese took a 13-11 lead but again the Koreans bounced back in the match and won it 9-21, 24-22, 21-19.