Yonex Japan Open - spotlight on Japanese Olympics winners
When World No 1 women's doubles pair Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi won the gold medal and Nozomi Okuhara took the bronze medal in the women's singles in the recently concluded Rio Olympics badminton has seen a huge surge in Japan.
Misaki-Ayaka created history as the first Japanese pair to win the women's doubles Olympic gold in the sport when they came back from the brink of defeat against Denmark's veteran pair Kamilla Rytter Juhl-Christinna Pedersen to reel off five straight points in the decider for a memorable 18-21, 21-9, 21-19 win. All looked lost when the Danish pair led 19-16 in the rubber.
And a repeat of the gold medal clash is likely in the USD300,000 Yonex Japan Open at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium which begins on Tuesday (Sept 20) with the qualifying rounds. The Yonex Japan Open is the first tournament after the Rio Olympics.
Misaki-Ayaka are the top seeds in the women's doubles while Kamilla-Christinna are seeded second.
The women's singles is the main attraction - with all three Rio Olympic medallists - Spain's Carolina Marin (gold), India's P.V. Sindhu (silver) and Japan's Nozomi Okuhara (bronze) - competing in Tokyo.
Marin, the world No 1, is also the reigning world champion while world No 3 Nozomi is the reigning All-England champion. For the Japan Open the Spaniard is the top seed while Nozomi is seeded second and former world No 1 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand seeded third followed by Taiwan's Tai Tzu Ying (fourth), Sindhu (fifth), Akane Yamaguchi (Japan, sixth), with China's Sun Yu and He Bingjiao seeded seventh and eighth respectively.
Men's singles top seed is current world No 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. The 33-year-old Malaysian, is a big hit in Japan, having won the Japan Open five times (2007, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014), the most by any player.
The Malaysian ace who won his third Olympic silver medal in Rio, opens his campaign with a first round match against Thailand veteran Boonsak Ponsana.
Second seed in the men's singles is Denmark's 22-year-old Viktor Axelsen, who defeated China's "Super Dan" Lin Dan for the bronze medal in Rio.
World No 5 Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark and World No 6 Tian Houwei of China are seeded third and fourth respectively while Taiwan's Chou Tien-chen is fifth seed with Korea's Son Wan-ho seeded sixth, Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto (seventh) and India's K. Srikanth seeded eighth.
In the men's doubles China's World No 4 Chai Biao-Hong Wei are the number one seeds. Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan are the number two seeds with Denmark's Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen seeded third.
Home favourites Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa are seeded number four with Malaysia's Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong occupying the number five slot. The other seeds are Denmark's Mads Conrad Petersen-Mads Pieler Kolding (No 6), Korea's Kim Gi-hyung-Ko Sung-hyun (No 7) and China's Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (No 8).
Malaysia's Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, who won the silver medal in Rio, are the fifth seeds in the mixed doubles. Korea's Ko Sung-hyun-Kim Ha-na are the top seeds with All England champions Praveen Jordan-Debby Susanto of Indonesia seeded second.
YONEX JAPAN OPEN (SEEDINGS)
1. Lee Chong Wei (Mas)
2. Viktor Axelsen (Den)
3. Jan O Jorgensen (Den)
4. Tian Houwei (Chn)
5. Chou Tien-chen (Tpe)
6. Son Wan-ho (Kor)
7. Tommy Sugiarto (Ina)
8. K. Srikanth
1. Chai Biao-Hong Wei (Chn)
2. Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina)
3. Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen
4. Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa (Jpn)
5. Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas)
6. Mads Conrad-Petersen-Mads Pieler Kolding (Den)
7. Kim Gi-jung-Ko Sung-hyan (Kor)
8. Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn)
1. Carolina Marin (Spn)
2. Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn)
3. Ratchanok Intanon (Tha)
4. Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe)
5. P.V. Sindhu (Ina)
6. Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn)
7. Sun Yu (Chn)
8. He Bingjiao (Chn)
1. Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn)
2. Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den)
3. Luo Ying-Luo Yu (Chn)
4. Naoko Fukuman-Kurumi Yonao (Jpn)
5. Eefje Muskens-Selena Piek ((Ned)
6. Shizuka Matsuo-Mami Naito (Jpn)
7. Huang Yaqiong-Tang Jinhua (Chn)
8. Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei (Mas)
1. Ko Sung-hyun-Kim Ha-na (Kor)
2. Praveen Jordan-Debby Susanto (Ina)
3. Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen (Den)
4. Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock (Eng)
5. Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Mas)
6. Lu Kai-Huang Yaqiong (Chn)
7. Zheng Siwei-Chen Qingchen (Chn)
8. Liu Yuchen-Tang Jinhua (Chn)