by Simon Daish
Kenta Matsudaira became well known in the sport from an early age, announcing himself on the world stage with his capture of the 2006 World Junior Championships title in Cairo, Egypt at the age of 16.
However, Matsudaira is yet to win a World Tour Men’s Singles title with his previous success in the Senior categories coming in the Men’s Doubles events. Now Matsudaira ranked 41st in the world (November 2016) will have the chance to change that fact after he secured his spot in the 2016 Austrian Open final.
Germany’s Benedikt Duda was the semi-finals opponent for Matsudaira. Despite being the lowest seeded competitor to remain heading into the last four, Duda’s confidence levels were high as he had beaten the 28th seed from India Sharath Kamal Achanta in the previous round. Yet there was to be no fairy tale ending for the German representative after Matsudaira came out of the semi-finals match celebrating his success.
The opening game saw Matsudaira make a blistering leap out of the blocks claiming game one by a nine point margin, and while Duda raised his play to a higher level it wasn’t enough to stop his Japanese rival from taking the following two ends to move 3-0 ahead in the match.
Duda was able to prevent a clean sweep defeat after his win in the fourth game, but the 32nd seed was just delaying the inevitable as Matsudaira stole game six to move through to the final round (11-2, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9).
Brazilian player Hugo Calderano will be the other finalist in Linz after he managed to overcome Japan’s Yuto Muramatsu in their last four encounter.
Following the conclusion of the second game neither competitor was able to take a lead and with the game scores level at 1-1, everything was still to play for. But for the rest of the semi-finals clash one player stood out above the other as Calderano won three successive games to come out of the match as victor (11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).
Sunday 13th November: Men’s Singles – Main Draw