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China Masters 2013: Day 3 - Youngsters Momota and Sakai Shine for Japan

Japan enjoyed a good day at the Adidas China Masters, with some impressive results in the second round today.

The performances of their young Men’s Singles prospects in particular must have thrilled them. Kento Momota and compatriot Kazumasa Sakai emerged on top in their battles against Chinese youngsters; their twin victories ensured four spots for Japan in the quarter-finals. The other two spots were taken by experienced hands, Sho Sasaki and fifth seed Kenichi Tago. The latter disposed of Israel’s Misha Zilberman (top right), 21-7 21-9.

World Junior champion Momota, who had upset fourth seed Tommy Sugiarto in the first round, continued to sparkle. Taking on Macau Open champion Chen Yuekun, Momota held off a belated challenge from his Chinese rival to take the first game. Chen levelled scores to take it to a decider, but Momota rushed to a 6-0 lead and remained ahead throughout to win the match 21-19 14-21 21-18.

Kazumasa Sakai too scored a three-game victory to reach his first Superseries quarter-final since his home Japan Open last year. World No. 180 Guo Kai (China) started strongly by taking the first game, but Sakai turned the match around early in the second game by flying to a 12-2 lead. The decider was well contested and points were close until 16-all, after which Sakai surged ahead to claim the match 15-21 21-12 21-17.

Others who booked quarter-final spots include Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark, 6), qualifier Son Wan Ho (Korea), and China’s Wang Zhengming (7) and Zhou Wenlong. Comeback man Son Wan Ho overcame Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand, 16-21 21-13 21-11, while fellow qualifier Zhou won his second three-game match in a row, beating Lee Dong Keun (Korea) 21-15 10-21 21-13.

Women’s Singles saw only one seed survive. Top seed Li Xuerui (China) made the quarter-finals without hitting a shuttle, while her compatriots Han Li and Liu Xin stopped Koreans Sung Ji Hyun (4) and Bae Yeon Ju (8) respectively. Han Li avenged her Korea Open Superseries semi-final loss to Sung, who had won that tournament, beating her 21-18 14-21 21-14, while Liu Xin needed only two games to get past Bae Yeon Ju, 21-14 21-17. Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand (BWF home page) ousted No. 7 seed Minatsu Mitani of Japan, in a hard-fought contest, 16-21 21-18 24-22.

China secured five spots in the Women’s Singles quarter-finals, but the notable exception was Wang Xin (centre below). The former world No. 2 Chinese, on a comeback trail from injury at the London Olympics, fell 21-13 21-16 to Sayaka Takahashi (Japan; left).

HIGHLIGHTS:

* In Men’s Doubles, top seeds Lee Yong Dae/Ko Sung Hyun (Korea) and second seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa (Japan) sailed into the quarter-finals. The top seeds needed just 22 minutes to get past Shi Longfei/Zhang Ningyi (China) 21-6 21-9, while Endo/Hayakawa spent five minutes longer to decimate Luo Cheng/Ju Fangpengyu (China) 21-10 21-13.

* Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi, third seeds in Women’s Doubles, were tested by Du Peng/Xiong Mengjing (China). The third seeds eventually prevailed after 66 minutes, 21-7 15-21 21-16.

* It was Indonesia’s day in Mixed Doubles, with four pairs making the quarter-finals. Among the Indonesian winners were Praveen Jordan/Vita Marissa, who upset third seeds Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam (Thailand). The veteran Thais saved two match points in the second game but were outclassed in the third, 21-15 21-23 21-11.

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