Perseverance. That’s the advice from Kim Jungjun of Korea to Daiki Kajiwara, after the Japanese teenager lost their men’s singles Wheelchair (WH2) semifinal match, 21-23 21-18 17-21.
“I’ll give him four years maybe before he can take over from me,” said world champion Kim.
Kajiwara had local fans on their feet, keeping at least two points ahead in the first game until Kim equalised at 17-17. Not giving in, Kajiwara pushed for deuce at 20-20 and 21-21 before losing 21-23.
The second went in favour of the Japanese. The third was too close to call with Kajiwara keeping Kim at bay until Kim took the match 21-18.
“He’s improved a lot since we last played in Thailand. He’s more stabilised in the wheelchair and his skills are better too. His game has more strategy,” added Kim.
Kajiwara, winner of the Denmark Para Badminton International last month, first earned Kim’s praise for his performance in Thailand in September.
“It’s good to hear his compliment. He’s a highly respected player and has even shared tips with me off court. I expect that I will beat him one day soon,” said Kajiwara, earlier this week.
Kim’s win sets up another final against Hong Kong China’s Chan Ho Yuen on Sunday.
No Easy Matches: Lucas Mazur
Men’s Standing Lower (SL4) singles world champion, France’s Lucas Mazur, claims his loss in Denmark has made him stronger.
“Denmark was difficult because I was mentally tired but now I can show my opponents that I can come back better,” said Mazur, after defeating Suhas Lalinekere Yathiraj 21-13 21-18 in the semifinals.
“I was losing the second game 4-11 but I made a great comeback. This is my new way. To be mentally strong because usually it’s not easy for me but today I gave it my best.”
Mazur will also play in the finals of the mixed doubles SL3-SU5 with partner Faustine Noel against Turkey’s Iiker Tuzcu and Halime Yildiz.
Tuzcu and Halime Yildiz took out Thailand’s Siripong Teammarom/Chanida Srinavakul in the quarterfinals and Japan’s third/fourth seeds Toshiaki Suenaga/Akiko Sugino in the semifinals to set up a clash against Mazur and Noel.
Both Mazur and Tuzcu played four matches on Saturday with Mazur winning all of his, while Tuczu lost his Standing Upper (SU5) men’s singles semifinal to Suryo Nugroho of Indonesia, 15-21 16-21.
“I’m feeling good about the mixed doubles. But I think Tuzcu may be tired. I’m used to playing four matches a day but I’m not sure about him. There will definitely be no easy matches tomorrow for anyone,” said Mazur.
Tuzcu who sustained an injury in the Turkish Para Badminton International – ENESCUP 2019 and missed three tournaments after that said: “My injury has healed and I’m ready to come back.”
“We’re a new pair and I let Ilker direct the game when we’re on court. He’s fast and accurate, and I support his game. It works,” added Yildiz.
Japan missed out on both the women’s singles Wheelchair finals when WH1 world champion and world No.1 Sarina Satomi fell to Thailand’s Sujirat Pookkam, 16-21 21-9 21-17, and Yuma Yamazaki lost the WH2 semifinals to China’s Xu Tingting 11-21 10-21.
Satomi and Yamazaki, however, combined forces in the WH1-2 women’s doubles to defeat China’s Xu Tingting and Zhang Jing, 21-11 21-13, and will play the finals against Liu Yutong and Yin Menglu of China.
Japan’s Fujino Haruka also reach the finals, defeating top seed Helle Sofie Sagoy of Norway 23-21 11-21 21-14 in the SL4 women’s singles semifinal.
Krysten Coombs of England took out Short Stature (SH6) men’s singles world champion and teammate Jack Shephard, 15-21 21-11 21-14, and will play the finals against India’s Krishna Nagar.
England’s Daniel Bethell defeated India’s Manoj Sarkar 21-7 21-12 in the Standing Lower (SL3) men’s singles semifinals and now takes on Pramod Baghat of India.
Earlier today he beat Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara 21-16 21-18. “He’s a great player and raises his game each time especially when he’s playing in Japan, so this was a tough match. We both did well. It was a fine margin and I’m looking forward to more tough matches here,” said Bethell.
Quote of the Day
“My game was not consistently aggressive or creative enough. I knew what I had to do but I also made many mistakes. There was a slight draft but then I had too much power in my shots and they kept going out. I tend to make more mistakes than the other top players in my class. I don’t have enough control in my shots and I’ll need to work on that.” – Valeska Knoblauch of Germany, after losing in the Wheelchair (WH1) quarterfinals to China’s Yin Menglu, 21-17 21-13.