Nozomi Okuhara leads Japan to capture three titles at Australian Open

Nozomi Okuhara (right) captures her fourth Super Series title at 2017 Australian Open. (photo: AP)
Nozomi Okuhara (right) captures her fourth Super Series title at 2017 Australian Open. (photo: AP)

Sydney: World No. 12 and Rio Olympic bronze medalist Nozomi Okuhara defeated compatriot and World No. 5 Akane Yamaguchi 21-12, 21-23, 21-17 in an all-Japanese final to clinch the women’s singles title at the Australian Open Super Series Badminton Tournament held at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre in Australia on Sunday.

Women’s doubles No. 1 seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi and men’s doubles No. 3 seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan ensured more joy for the Japanese team when they also claimed the women’s doubles and men’s doubles titles in the Australian Open finals. It was the first time the Japanese team had won 3 out of 5 events in a Superseries tournament.

Okuhara who had been battling a shoulder injury after the Rio Olympics expressed her delight at beating her teammate in the final.

“I am excited, and I would like to dedicate this victory to all the earthquake victims in Nagano Prefecture,” said Okuhara.

A shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 hit Nagano Prefecture, which is Okuhara’s hometown early Sunday.

In the repeat of the Rio Olympic final, Japan’s Rio Olympic women’s doubles gold medalists Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi have gotten the last laugh against Denmark’s Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christina Pedersen, beating the Denmark pair 21-10, 21-13 in 42 minutes.

“We adjusted and regrouped after our first-round exit in Indonesia Open last week,” said Takahashi.

“We would like to maintain our focus until the World Championships in August,” said Matsutomo.

Third ranked Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda wrapped things up for Japan by outlasting Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia and Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia 21-17, 21-19 in men’s doubles final.


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