by Simon Daish
Three combinations representing Japan took part in the Men’s Doubles Round of 16, and while one of the pairs were pushed right down to the wire it was a case of plain sailing for the other two teams.
Koki Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura were members of the Japan Men’s Team which won the silver medal at Rio 2016, and the duo partnered up once again this time for the 2016 Swedish Open in Stockholm where they defeated Poland’s Marek Badowski and Wang Zengyi in straight games (11-4, 11-8, 11-8).
The other pairing from Japan to pick up a 3-0 win in the Men’s Doubles was the duet of Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, who saw off the German duo of Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther (11-4, 11-7, 11-4). But Kenta Matsudaira and Jin Ueda were made to work hard for their place in the last eight, requiring the full five game distance to beat Kim Minhyeok and Park Ganghyeon.
Kim and Park headed to Stockholm looking to improve on their quarter-finals finish achieved at the 2016 Hybiome Austrian Open, but despite a positive showing from the Korean pair the match went in the direction of Matsudaira and Ueda by the narrowest of margins (4-11, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9).
There could be a potential all-Japanese semi-finals in the Women’s Doubles tournament after both of the country’s partnerships in the category sealed their progress beyond the main draw’s opening round.
Hina Hayata and Miyu Kato look like a force to be reckoned with after their strong outing against Chantal Mantz and Wan Yuan. The match was won fairly convincingly by Hayata and Kato with the combination displaying a great show of maturity throughout the tie (11-6, 11-3, 11-6) as Mantz and Wan exited the competition.
Another match to feature two Japanese players teaming up for the Women’s Doubles saw Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato go head-to-head with Chinese Taipei’s Lin Po-Hsuan and Wang Yi-Ju.
Hashimoto and Sato gelled well together as a pairing, defeating the opposition of Lin and Wang across four ends (11-8, 11-5, 3-11, 11-9).
The standout match of the round saw Turkey’s Hu Melek and Spain’s Maria Xiao come back from behind to knock out Norway’s Ma Wenting and Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin (11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3) in a seven game spectacle.
Friday 18th November: Men’s Doubles – Main Draw
Friday 18th November: Women’s Doubles – Main Draw