Japan Makes History by Winning Four All England Titles

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Congratulations to Nozomi Okuhara for winning the 2021 All England title.(photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)
Congratulations to Nozomi Okuhara for winning the 2021 All England title.(photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

Birmingham: The Japanese team capitalized on the absence of top badminton powerhouses such as China, Indonesia, and top shuttlers in women’s singles such as Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan, Carolina Marin of Spain, and Chen Yufei of China, scooping up four titles at the 2021 All England final on Sunday.

In the first final of the day, No. 3 seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda and No. 4 seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe took to the court to battle for the men’s doubles title. Endo/Watanabe won the first game 21-15, before dropping the second set to Kamura/Sonoda 17-21. The deciding game was one-sided, as Endo/Watanabe were active on attacks, pressuring Kamura/Sonoda to commit mistakes defensively and managed to wrap up the game 21-11 to win their second consecutive All England titles. Endo/Watanabe defeated World No. 1 men’s pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia 21-18, 12-21, 21-19 to win 2020 All England.

Japan’s 2018 and 2019 women’s doubles world champions, Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara, kept their composure on the court, targeting Sayaka Hirota by moving her to the left and right baseline and by launching attacks against her proved to be very effective. The No. 2 seeds Matsumoto/Nagahara ultimately pulled off an upset to beat the defending champions and No. 1 seeds Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota 21-18, 21-16 to claim their first All England.

In the women’s singles final, although No. 2 seed Nozomi Okuhara won her second All England title by defeating No. 6 seed Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand 21-12, 21-16, the 23-year-old Chochuwong showed great potential to develop as one of the top women’s singles players in the next few years.

Yuta Watanabe was the happiest person in the Japanese team or even the whole 2021 All England tournament as he scored his second All England title late Sunday in the mixed doubles event partnering Arisa Higashino. The mixed doubles No. 2 seeds overcame unseeded compatriots Yuki Kaneko/Misaki Matsutomo 21-14, 21-13 to reclaim the All England title they won in 2018.

The Japanese team became the only team to win four or more All England titles after China swept all five titles in 2009.

In the 2009 All England, Lin Dan, Wang Yihan, Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng, Zhang Yawen/Zhao Tingting, He Hanbin/Yu Yang clinched the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles titles respectively.

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