BADMINTON Preview: Clash of titans in $700,000 Japan Open

All five of the top-ranked players or teams in the BWF World Rankings are all-in for the Daihatsu Yonex Japan Open, a $700,000 prize-purse tournament so big it has two title sponsors!

Inaugurated in 1977, the tournament has usually been held in Tokyo and is ongoing at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, with the top seeds:

∙ Men’s Singles:
1. Viktor Axelsen (DEN)
2. Yuqi Shi (CHN)

∙ Men’s Doubles:
1. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA)
2. Junhui Li/Yuchen Liu (CHN)

∙ Women’s Singles:
1. Tzu Ying Tai (TPE)
2. Akane Yamaguchi (JPN)

∙ Women’s Doubles:
1. Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (JPN)
2. Misaki Matsumoto/Ayaka Takahashi (JPN)

∙ Mixed Doubles:
1. Siwei Zhang/Yaqiong Huang (CHN)
2. Yilyu Wang/Dongping Huang (CHN)

All five of the defending champions are also back from last year: Axelsen, Gideon and Sukamuljo, Spain’s Carolina Marin, Matsumoto and Takahashi and Wang and Huang in Mixed Doubles.

Other former champions also in the men’s Singles field include Olympic champions Lin Dan (CHN: 2005-06-15) and Long Chen (CHN: 2011) and six-time winner Chong Wei Lee (MAS: 2007-10-12-13-14-16). Former women’s Singles winners include Marin, Yamaguchi (2013), Nozumi Okuhara (JPN: 2015) amd Tai (2012).

This is a big tournament for prize money, with $49,000 for the Singles winners, $23,800 for runner-ups and smaller among for the top 64. In Doubles, the winners will receive $51,800, then $24,500 for second and on down through 64th. Look for results here.