• Red hot Yamaguchi has feet firmly planted on the ground (pic)

    BUKIT JALIL: Akane Yamaguchi is only 16, but she is already being hailed as the next big star of women’s badminton.

    She rose to prominence last year by becoming the youngest-ever Super Series winner when she triumphed in the Japan Open, before turning on the style to bag the world junior title.Akane Yamaguchi beat Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon 21-18, 23-25, 21-16 in the first round of the Maybank Malaysian Open on Jan 15, 2014.

    And on Wednesday, the teenager showed exactly why she’s worth the hype with an incredible performance to stun reigning world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the first round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.

    Yamaguchi showed maturity beyond her tender years and excellent court coverage to rack up a 21-18, 23-25, 21-16 win in 63 minutes at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

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