Akane survives thriller against Se-young as Japan become champions again

  • Badminton
  • Monday, 17 Feb 2020

PETALING JAYA: Japan underlined their dominance in women’s badminton by successfully defending their Asia Team Championship title by defeating South Korea 3-0 in the final in Manila, the Philippines.

World No. 3 Akane Yamaguchi (pic) put Japan on the right foot after she survived a titanic battle against 18-year-old Korean teen sensation An Se-young to prevail 21-18,19-21,23-21 in a match lasting 83 minutes at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum yesterday.

Yamaguchi had to fight tooth and nail from the very beginning against the skilful and tenacious Se-young to notch only her second win following last month’s victory in the Thailand Masters final.

Previously, the Japanese had found the ninth ranked Se-young a tough nut to crack after losing to her twice at last year’s French Open and South Korean Masters.

But she certainly has found the formula to beat the Korean in 2020 although her victories have not come easy.

Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota defeated Lee Seo-hee-Shin Seung-chan 21-16,21-16 to give Japan the second point.

South Korea were banking on Sung Ji-hyun to turn the tide in their favour but their hopes went up in smoke as she went down tamely 16-21,12-21 to world No. 11 Sayaka Takahashi in 46 minutes.

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