A family affair, Nilsson with mother and coach in Japan today (credit Badminton Photo)

Nilsson bows out at the group stages

11/15/2019 8:49 AM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Rickard Nilsson lost the final group stage match this afternoon in Tokyo, and leaves the Japan international early.

Rickard Nilsson’s tournament went from bad to worse today inside the newly built Yoyogi Stadium. 

Day two of the Japan Para badminton International meant the group stages of the SL4 men’s singles would be concluded and Sweden’s star had his back to the wall after a close defeat yesterday to Russian Pavel Kulikov. Speaking with Nilsson this week, he said

- Yesterday I needed to keep the length in my lifts because he’s (Kulikov) a good attacking player, but I couldn’t and that’s why I lost

- This morning I felt better and more comfortable in the surroundings too. It wasn’t an easy match (against Nakamura). I think he got an energy boost in the second game, maybe from the cheering crowds. I was a bit shaken when he took the last few points to win the second, but overall I was comfortable with my game, he added.

Although the Swede came through the match as victor against Kaito Nakamura of Japan, he went on to face China’s Gao Yuyang in the afternoon and was defeated in his third three-game match of the week. The second group stage loss means the five/eight seeded Nilsson exits the competition. Nilsson said

 - In this group it could have gone either way because we’re all evenly matched. The venue is a much larger space than what I’m used to, but it’s cool in that sense because you feel the tension and the energy from the crowd.

- I needed to get through and pick up more points for my Tokyo 2020 qualification and hoped to make it to semi-finals or at least quarter finals here, and in future tournaments. I’ll need to be in the top six in the world, at least, to be safe.

Read: Surprises at Hong Kong Open

Rooke loses seeded draw

Europe’s top hope in the WH2 men’s singles, Martin Rooke (ENG), came under real pressure today in the group stages class two wheelchair event. 

A repeat of the World Championships quarterfinal saw the Englishman once again face Japan’s Atsuya Watanabe. It was a repeat of the result also, as Japan’s number two pipped Rooke to the win with a 21-18, 21-19 score line.

Rooke made it through Group C and now faces Japan’s number one, teenager Daiki Kajiwara the world number 6 who is buoyed by victory last month in Denmark and will have the home crowd behind him tomorrow.

To follow the Japan Para badminton International 2019, see tournament software here for draws and results. You can also watch selected matches on YouTube by following this link to the livestream 

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