21 Jan 2017

Winning the All Japan Championships twice appears to be an impossible feat for mere mortals, as proved by this evening's action in the Men's Singles. While in the women's draw, Miu Hirano continues to be untouchable.

by Wade Townsend

Koki Niwa will have to wait for his second All Japan title.

The 2013 All Japan Champion went on to the court favourite in his last 16 match against Jin Ueda.

Ranked almost 80 places below his opponent, Ueda was able to defy the odds and battled his way to a 4-2 win, taking the final game in emphatic fashion 11-2.

In the opposite half of the draw it continue to be a bad night for past champions.

Maharu Yoshimura, winner in 2012, took on Takuya Jin, the 2015 runner-up. Tonight Jin had the edge and won in six games.

Waiting for him in the quarter-finals is Yuki Hirano. The two are old teammates and played together for Meiji University as part of lineup that completely dominated the Japanese university league. Tomorrow only one will progress to the medal rounds.

Meanwhile, the Matsudaira brothers fell short of the quarterfinals. Kenta and Kenji both had held 3-1 leads over their opponents but were unable to finish the job.

Tonin Ryuzaki accounted for Kenji in the last 16 while Yuma Tsuboi knocked out Kenta in the round of 32.

However, the quarter-finals also elude Tsuboi.

Fresh off the back of winning the Junior Boys’ Singles title, Yuto Kizukori accounted for Tsuboi in six games.

Can the newly crowned champion’s good fortune continue? He will need a little luck to progress past the quarterfinal stage.

Kizukori’s next opponent will be Jun Mizutani. The defending champion is in formidable form, taking care of Ryotaro Ogata in straight games this afternoon.

Koki Niwa, down and out at the All Japan Championships. (Photo:Monthly World Table Tennis)


In the Women’s Singles the player to watch is Miu Hirano. The 16 year old has progressed to the quarterfinals without dropping a game. Her next opponent will be Marina Matsuzawa.

Kasumi Ishikawa had a comfortable 4-1 win over Misaki Morizono, and a fourth consecutive title is now certainly within her reach.

Three defenders remain in the women’s draw. Hitomi Sato, Honoka Hashimoto and Yuka Ishigaki have been unbreachable walls and are hoping to break a drought of defensive players taking the title.

Action continues tomorrow at 10am local time with the Women’s Singles quarterfinals followed by the men taking the court at 12pm.

Eye’s on the prize, Miu Hirano is in perfect form. (Photo: Monthly World Table Tennis)
All Japan Championships Miu Hirano Koki Niwa All Japan Championships