Wuhan: World No. 4 Akane Yamaguchi became the first Japanese to win the women’s singles crown at the Badminton Asia Championships (BAC) on Sunday.
The 21-year-old No. 3 seed Japanese quickly raced out to 12-2 in the first game before winning the game 21-19. Yamaguchi started the second set by establishing a huge 11-1 lead to wrap up the game 21-9.
Before Yamaguchi, only Kaori Mori had made the Asian finals in 2005 and 2006 but had lost to Hong Kong’s Wang Chen on both occasions. The other all-time greats from Japan, including three-time All-England champion Hiroe Yuki, Noriko Nakayama, Etsuko Takenaka, Yoshiko Yonekura and Nozomi Okuhara, could never make an impression at the Asian Badminton Championships.
“I am not too excited about being the first Japanese player to win the Asian women’s singles title,” said Yamaguchi.
“However, I was more proud to stand on top of the podium surrounded by three Chinese players,” added Yamaguchi as she was referring to He Bingjiao (silver medalist), Chen Yufei and Cai Yanyan (both shared the bronze medals).
The Japanese almost took home their fourth title at the tournament through women’s doubles, when the reigning world champions and No 3 seeds, Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto, squandered a 19-18 lead in the decider to go down to No. 4 seeds Jia Yifan and Chen Qingchen of China 21-19, 14-21, 19-21.
In an all-Chinese mixed doubles final, World No. 2 Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping survived a massive scare before scrambling to a 21-11, 13-21, 23-21 final victory over World No. 12 He Jiting and Du Yue in a one-hour battle. The victory was Wang/Huang’s second career meeting victory over He/Du.