Seoul: Nozomi Okuhara became the second Japanese female player to win the Korea Open women’s singles title since the tournament’s inaugural year in 1991. Okuhara’s teammate, Akane Yamaguchi won the women’s title in 2016.
The No. 3 seed Okuhara posted a 21-10, 17-21, 21-16 win over No. 6 seed Zhang Beiwen of USA in the final that lasted 52 minutes. Both players have played each other four times, with Okuhara held a 4-0 career meeting records.
Okuhara got off to a strong start in the first set, easing past the USA player in just 12 minutes. Zhang changed strategy and attacked more on Okuhara’s backhand baseline in the second game. That strategy prevailed and Zhang managed to force the decider.
The former World Champion Okuhara controlled the shuttlecock much better in the third set, keeping the shuttlecock low and launching sneak attacks towards Zhang whenever she found an opportunity. Zhang, on the other hand, hit a lot of out of bound shots towards Okuhara’s backhand, which cost her several critical points. The match ended when Zhang tried to do a cross-court drop-shot towards Okuhara’s right hand side, but ended up hitting the net.
As the women’s champion, Okuhara took home USD $45,000 while Zhang bagged USD $22,800.
In the all-Japanese women’s doubles final, Rio Olympic champions and No. 2 seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi beat No. 1 seeds Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota 21-11, 21-18 for the women’s doubles crown.
Meanwhile, China’s No. 5 seed mixed doubles pair, He Jiting/Du Yue battled past No. 2 seeds Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen of Denmark 21-18, 21-16 to secure the Korea Open title.