Japan enjoy strong start at Thomas and Uber Cups

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Nozomi Okuhara returns a shot from Louisa Ma of Australia. (photo: AFP)
Nozomi Okuhara returns a shot from Louisa Ma of Australia. (photo: AFP)

Bangkok: The Japan’s men who are aiming to repeat their 2014 Thomas Cup triumph, beating Hong Kong 4-1 in their Thomas Cup first Group C tie on Sunday.

Led by former World No. 2 Kento Momota, the 23-year-old fought back from a set down to overcome Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long Angus 15-21, 21-16, 21-15 in the first men’s singles match.

“I am really excited to be able to play in Bangkok,” said Momota.

“I was playing patiently and with faster speed to beat Ng,” added Momota.

The Japanese men’s team emerged to a 4-1 victory against Hong Kong and will play Germany on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Uber Cup top seeds Japan eased to a 5-0 victory over Australia in the Group A opening tie.

Japan’s World No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi faced tremendous resilience from Wendy Chen Hsuan-Yu of Australia before picking up the victory with 24-22, 21-19.

Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota and Nozomi Okuhara then sealed the tie for Japan by winning the first women’s doubles and second women’s singles matches.

Doubles pair Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi then blew away Lee Yen Khoo and Ann-Louise Slee 21-3, 21-4 while Sayaka Sato overcoming Lauren Lim 21-9, 21-6 as the top seeds ran out to a 5-0 comfortable win.

The Japan Uber Cup team will meet Canada on Monday.

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