Tuesday January 15, 2013
Japanese ace Kenichi confident of making the final again
JAPAN’S Kenichi Tago, beaten finalist in last year’s Maybank Malaysian Open, has set his sights on marching into the final again when the tournament begins at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
But first, second seed Tago wants to score a convincing win over Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng – his first round opponent.
“Wei Feng is a good player and he beat me in the first round of the Japan Open last year. That was quite a demoralising defeat for me,” said Tago after a training session yesterday.
“So, this time I want to turn the tables on him, in front of his home fans.
“I am aiming to make the final again and I want to redeem myself as I didn’t do well in last year’s final.
“If I can win the title here, it’ll boost my ranking ahead of the All-England in March.
“But then again, there’s still (Lee) Chong Wei who is an incredibly tough opponent,” said Tago, who was beaten 21-6, 21-13 by the world No. 1 in last year’s final.
The 24-year-old Tago is now ranked a career-best at world No. 4 following a strong run towards the end of last year which saw him reaching the Hong Kong Open semi-finals.
But Tago is far from pleased with his current form.
“I’m still too inconsistent in tournaments,” said Tago, who hails from Chiba.
It has not been a good start this season. He was sent packing by Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen in the first round of the Korean Open last week.
“I definitely wasn’t at my best last week. I was feeling slow and very heavy,” explained Tago.
“Ideally, my weight should be about 71kg. But because of the cold weather in Japan, I gained about 3kg and was not in the best shape.
“But I’m looking forward to the Malaysian Open because the weather is hot here and I’ll lose weight faster.
“Hopefully by the time I reach the final, I’ll be back at 71kg again and be ready to challenge for the title once again,” added Tago.
Barring any upsets, Tago is expected to face China’s Wang Zhengming in the quarter-finals before taking on team-mate Sho Sasaki for the privilege of facing Chong Wei in the final.