Indonesia Open: A Glimpse of the Future?

A Super 1000 debut for Tomoka Miyazaki against none other than the undisputed queen of women’s singles, An Se Young. Their first round clash at the KAPAL API Indonesia Open 2024 might well be the first of many to come, for Miyazaki has been hailed as the face of the next generation, while An Se Young, sitting atop the throne currently, is still only 22.

In the event, Miyazaki – just 17, and very much the wide-eyed schoolgirl off court – was far from intimidated against the Korean world No.1. There were some sparkling exchanges either side, and Miyazaki did well to take the opening game after An Se Young had saved game point.

The Korean, however, had other weapons in her armoury, and she prevented her challenger from doing any more damage as she eased into the second round, 20-22 21-7 21-11.

An was impressed by what she’d seen. “Tomoka is very confident – at her age, I wasn’t as confident. I used to be afraid when I was younger.”

Tomoka Miyazaki

The signs were positive, said the No.1, who was in Miyazaki’s shoes not so long ago, when she was the rising teen prospect with everything to gain and nothing to lose.

“She can go on to be much better. She always follows the shuttle — she is a very attacking player and I did get confused with some of her shots.”

Miyazaki’s year has justified all the attention on her. The 2022 world junior champion has already beaten top players like Aya Ohori, Pusarla V Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara, and has broken through at the World Tour level, with a Super 300 title in Orleans.

The teen was clear-headed about her expectations from playing her accomplished rival. “This is my first time playing An Se Young. I know she’s the best now in the world. But when I played her today, I wanted to challenge myself and try to take the first game. I knew it would be hard but I gave it my best. After I got the first game, she just turned it around with some perfect play. But I learned so many things from her, so I’m happy to have played her.

“The big difference is physical – she’s stronger than me. She’s been strong even when she was my age, so I cannot compare to her.”

→Results (Day 2)

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