23 Dec 2018

Very much outsiders for gold, Japan’s Shoji Fujiki and Yuki Matsumoto emerged as the surprise winners of the Mixed Doubles event at the 2018 United States Open in Orlando as play came to a conclusion on Saturday 22nd December.

At the final hurdle they overcame the host nation’s Tian Ye and Chi Ge (11-4, 11-4, 11-9), in a competition where players from the Land of the Rising Sun dominated proceedings. They provided three of the four semi-final pairings.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Earlier in the day in the penultimate round Shoji Fujiki and Yuki Matsumoto had withstood a brave recovery by Koji Uezu and Eka So (12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 8-11, 11-5); in the adjacent half of the draw Tian Ye and Chi Ge had fought back from a two games to nil deficit to overcome Kei Murai and Yuri Kobachi by the very narrowest of margins (8-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10).

Surprise semi-finalists; none of the pairs appeared amongst the leading partnerships occupied a highly seeded position, all had caused upsets to reach the penultimate round.

Most notably, at the quarter-final stage Kei Murai and Yurie Kobachi had beaten the host nation’s Kanak Jha and Wu Yue, the top seeds (11-6, 11-7, 11-7); Shoji Fujiki and Yuki Matsumoto had overcome Germany’s Gerritt Engemann and Nina Mittelham, the no.2 seeds (12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).

In a similar vein, one round earlier Tian Ye and Chi Ge alongside Koji Uezu and Yuki Matsumoto had accounted for the pairs that shared the no.3 seeded spot. Tian Ye and Chi Ge had overcome the combination of Matthew Lehman from the United States and England’s Tin-Tin Ho (11-5, 11-7, 3-11, 11-3), before ending the hopes of Japan’s Ryohei Kanoya and Kyoka Kato (12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9).

Similarly, Koji Uezu and Yuki Matsumoto had beaten the pairing formed by Rajko Gommers of the Netherlands and the host country’s Lily Zhang (11-6, 12-10, 11-8), before reserving their place in the semi-final round courtesy of success against colleagues Tsuyoshi Tokushima and Mayuka Taira (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7).

Meanwhile, in both the Junior Mixed Doubles and Cadet Mixed Doubles events, it was success for the host’s Rachel Sung. In the former she partnered colleague Ma Jinbao to claim the top prize, the pair beating colleagues Terence Yeung and Joanna Sung in the final (11-9, 11-3, 7-11, 6-11, 11-3); in the latter she joined forces with Canada’s Edward Ly. The duo secured the title, beating Puerto Rico’s Angel Naranjo and Brianna Burgos in the final (11-9, 11-4, 13-11).

2018 United States Open: Seeding and Results

2018 United States Open: Feature articles by Matt Hetherington and Richard Finn

2018 United States Open Yuki Matsumoto Shoji Fujiki