Photo: William GreinerMiho Nijo (JPN)
Miho Nijo secured her first career win over her compatriot Kanako Domori on Wednesday’s second day of the Japan Open to become the only unseeded player to reach the singles quarterfinals at the third Super Series event of the year in Iizuka.
On a day when rain forced the matches indoors world No. 15 Nijo met world No. 12 Domori in the women’s singles round of 16 in Iizuka for the second time since 2011. But in the first of the ten career matches between the two Japanese players to go to a third and deciding set, Nijo prevailed 63 36 63.
Nijo, who now plays third seed Aniek van Koot, and defending champion Yui Kamiji both represent the host nation in the quarterfinals, with world No. 2 Kamiji starting her title defence with one of four 60 60 wins for seeded players. Kamiji meets South Africa’s world No. 7 Kgothatso Montjane for a place in the semifinals after Montjane and Dutch world No. 3 van Koot both earned 60 62 victories.
Three of the four matches in the top half of the women’s draw ended 60 60, while 2005 and 2011 champion Jiske Griffioen of Netherlands advanced 64 60 to set up a quarterfinal against Korea Republic’s Ju-Yeon Park. The remaining quarterfinal will seed Germany’s world No. 1 and 2012 Japan Open champion Sabine Ellerbrock takes on last year’s runner-up, world No. 6 Marjolein Buis of Netherlands.
Sanada and Houdet battle through to last eight
With the quad singles quarterfinal line-up already decided, the two matches in the men’s singles to produce the closest outcomes were both at the bottom of the draw.
Sixth seed Takashi Sanada put a slow start behind him in his match against Malaysia’s Abu Samah Borhan. After ending his first round match with victory In a tiebreak, Borhan clinched the first set against Sanada in a tiebreak, but thereafter it was a largely one-sided contest as Japan’s world No. 11 wrapped up a 67(4) 61 60 win.
World No. 2 Stephane Houdet and Dutch former world No. 3 Ronald Vink went head-to-head in a highly competitive match, with the French second seed maintaining his bid for a first Japan Open title when he sealed a 75 63 victory.
Japan is assured of at least one semifinalist after world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda and seventh seed Satoshi Saida set up a quarterfinal meeting, with Saida defeating Australia’s Keegan Oh-Chee 61 62 and Kunieda speeding to a 60 60 win over Korea Republic’s Choil Yong An.
Dutch fourth seed Maikel Scheffers, the defending champion, and South Africa’s eighth seed Evans Maripa both advanced 61 61, while Japanese fifth seed Takuya Miki and 2013 runner-up Joachim Gerard of Belgium earned 61 60 victories. Scheffers now meets world No. 8 Miki, with world No. 4 Gerard coming up against Maripa.
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