Sayaka Takahashi stepped up once more and brought Japan its second consecutive title in the women’s tournament of the 2020 SMART Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Japan capped its dominant campaign with a 3-0 sweep of Korea in this tournament backed by SMART Communications Inc., MVP Sports Foundation, Leisure and Resorts World Corporation, Cignal, and TV5.
Takahashi stopped Sung Ji Hyun to take the crown for Japan in the second singles match, 21-16, 21-12, in a tussle that lasted for 24 minutes.
“I was very confident that we can be champions with this team,” Takahashi shared. “I’m happy that we became champions. It was a good experience for the next ones to come.”
Former world no. 1 Akane Yamaguchi needed to summon her experience to deny Korean young stalwart An Se Young in three games, 21-18, 19-21, 23-21, to put Japan on the board after the opening singles match.
An arrived at match point 20-16 as Yamaguchi succumbed to errors in that stretch, but the Japanese veteran coasted along and eventually leveled the game at 20. She then consolidated her lone match point of the rubber to get the win for her side.
Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota later fended off Lee Seo Hee and Shin Seung Chan in the lone doubles match to put the eventual champions at the 2-0 lead, 21-16, 21-16.
Also part of Japan’s team are Aya Ohori, Riko Gunji, Mayu Matsumoto, Nami Matsuyama, Wakana Nagahara, and Chiharu Shida.
Malaysia and Thailand were awarded the bronze medals.
Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand also join Japan in the 2020 Uber Cup slated from May 16 to 24 in Aarhus, Denmark.