WS - FINALS : A truly splendid match between the two Japanese players We YAMAGUCHI(N°5) and TAKAHASHI (N°13)
We have been longing for this final. The Japanese number 1 Akane Yamaguchi spent longer time getting into her final compared to her compatriot, world Number 13 Sayaka Takahashi. Quickly leading the exchange with 4 points ahead, Sayaka didn’t want to take any risk to give her opponent a chance. But she knew better than anyone that her national team mate was not an amateur to international tournaments : her faith and steadiness brought her energy to catch up. After the interval, the two Japanese advanced toward the first 21 neck and neck. Probably because they are both trained in Japanese national team, they gave an impression that they knew so well each other’s game style and that’s why it was even harder for neither of them to gain a point easily. In the meanwhile, if we rely on the official statistics, Yamaguchi had never lost to her rival within their 5 previous meetings. Takahashi was surely eager to change the battle history in Paris, but the more she wanted to win, the more unnecessary errors she made. Her haste gave Yamaguchi more time to recover from her tiredness. 21/18. The first round was cleared by the 24-year-old world top player.
And the second one was almost the perfect copy version of the first one. There was obviously some mental movements in these two finalists’ heads : Sayaka shockingly smashed a perfect chance out of her league at 9/3. This was a turning point for the second set. Yamaguchi didn’t slow down, she kept scoring until 19, only two points away from another one of her international tournaments title. But Sayaka Takahashi was not ready to give away her chance to win. She won the next 4 consecutive points to bring herself to 10 points. Never too late? Sometimes it is… Akane Yamaguchi, seed Number 1, announced her victory when the match time reached 34 minutes. 21/12, the invincible Japanese badminton player appeared after the first the match in front of the camera.
“I have grown.”
Akane told the journalists, “ the audience brought much support to my game and I am very grateful. I went through some tough moments such as injuries and mental challenges these last months. But I will always keep my head up. After the intense tournament period, I feel I have grown.”
“I have no excuse.”
Sayaka Takahashi spoke highly of her opponent as well. “ it was a good fight. I don’t have any excuse for my defeat. I have a lot of points to revise and I have to avoid making more mistakes next time.”
When being asked about Takahashi’s good preparation aiming her weakness, Yamaguchi smiled, “ I have the fans’ support and I was sincerely focused for each point. I always tried not to think too much about the win or lose, because I never give up.”