Hoki and Kobayashi battle back from the brink on YONEX All England Day 2
World champions Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi battled back from match point down to beat home hopes Sean Vendy and Ben Lane on Day 2 at the YONEX All England.
Hoki and Kobayashi, seeded third in Birmingham, cruised to the opening game but were pegged back by Lane and Vendy, who were buoyed by a passionate home crowd at the Utilita Arena.
Lane and Vendy’s momentum rolled on and they led 18-14 and later held a match point at 20-19 in the deciding game.
However the Japanese duo summoned all they could muster and converted a third match of their own to prevail 21-11, 19-21, 24-22 in a classic encounter.
Lane and Vendy was one of three English losses today, the home contingent’s campaign coming to an end.
Mixed doubles pair Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith lost to Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo while women’s doubles pair Chloe Birch and Jess Pugh also fell.
Elsewhere, top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo overcame a scare to progress to the last eight.
Gideon and Sukamuljo trailed by a game to the Japanese pairing of Akira Koga and Taichi Sato, though rallied to seal a 15-21, 21-18, 21-18 victory.
“We are very happy to get through this match because our opponents also played very well today,” said Gideon. “They had really high spirit and really wanted to beat us, but we tried our best. We always want to do our best and we always want to win.”
Second seeds Mohammed Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan also rallied to beat Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan 19-21, 21-17, 21-14.
And it was a very strong day for Indonesian pairings with Mohammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana knocking out eighth seeds Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi, and Bagas Maulana and Muhammad Fikri also prevailing.
Lakshya Sen’s recent run of strong form continued as he shocked third seed Anders Antonsen in the men’s singles.
Sen beat Viktor Axelsen at the German Open last week, and took the opening game 21-16 against the world number three.
Antonsen rallied from 10-5 down in the second game to stop the Indian star running away with victory, though a run of five of the last seven points saw Sen seal a 21-16, 21-18 win.
“I had a game plan. In the first game, it was just about getting the shuttle back and being steady,” said Sen.
“Towards the end it was just about taking the chances and going for the kill, and at the same time being patient and controlling the shot.”
Axelsen’s quest to reach a fourth straight final in Birmingham continued with a solid 21-14, 21-13 win over 2021 semi-finalist Mark Caljouw.
The world no.1 goes on to face Anthony Ginting after the fifth seed edged out Srikanth Kidambi 21-19 in the deciding game.
One of the clashes of the day came between women’s singles top seed Tai Tzu Ying and Busanan Ongbamrungphan on Court 1.
In a narrow contest, Tzu Ying managed to seal a 21-19, 22-20 victory to progress to the quarter-final, saving a game point in the second game to close it out .
Things do not get any easier for the world no.1, who now faces defending champion and fifth seed Nozomi Okuhara for a place in the last four.
Okuhara beat Yue Han 21-15, 21-18 in her round two contest to keep her title defence going.
Meanwhile, second seed Akane Yamaguchi also overcame an incredibly tough test against former world no.1 Saina Nehwal.
Nehwal, on her birthday, rallied to force a deciding game but it was the Japanese ace who sealed a 21-14, 17-21, 21-17 victory.
“Because of the result, I am pleased. However the actual performance during the match wasn’t as good as I wanted. From tomorrow I would like to be even better,” said Yamaguchi, who takes on compatriot Sayaka Takahashi tomorrow.
Third seed Chen Yu Fei and eighth seed He Bing Jiao both prevailed to set up an all-Chinese quarter-final, while fourth seed An Seyoung continued her campaign with a straight games victory over Kirsty Gilmour.
After a huge win in the opening round against the top seeds, Korean pair Na Eun Jeong and Hye Jeong Kim progressed to the last eight of the women’s doubles with a three-game victory over Supissara Paewsampran and Puttita Supajirakul.
Third seeds Soyeong Kim and Heeyong Kong rallied from a game down to beat Canadian duo Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai, though there was huge disappointment for sixth seeds and reigning Olympic champions Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu
Rahayu’s leg injury saw the two retire despite winning the first game, Indian pair Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Pullela moving into the last eight.
Meanwhile, Olympic mixed doubles champions Yi Lyu Wang and Dong Ping Huang continued their campaign with a comfortable win over Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson.
The YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships return to Utilita Arena Birmingham with the best players from around the world from 16th – 20th March 2022.
Don’t miss out, get your tickets today.