Yamaguchi Akane outlasts Chen Yu Fei again for Japan Open 2022 final berth

In a rematch of last week's world championships women's final, the top-ranked Japanese goes the distance to hold on to bragging rights over her Chinese rival.

By Shintaro Kano in Osaka. Created on 3 September 2022.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

The world champion got the better of the Olympic champion once again.

Yamaguchi Akane beat Chen Yu Fei for the second successive week on Saturday (3 September), advancing to the 2022 Japan Open badminton women's singles final.

Yamaguchi, who defeated Chen in the final of last week's BWFworld championships in Tokyo, recovered after losing the first game to win 15-21, 21-16, 24-22 at Osaka's Maruzen Intec Arena.

With just a one-day turnaround from the worlds, many of the top players have either pulled out or lost early. Yamaguchi though has shown phenomenal staying power during the Japan Open, digging deep to reach yet another final.

Yamaguchi will play An Se Young in Sunday's final.

"There's a lot of fatigue and it was just tough midway through", Yamaguchi said. "But I went into the final game with a go-for-broke mindset and tried to enjoy the match. Then I started moving better, playing better.

"I'm obviously not moving with the pace I had last week so it was important for me to persevere and try to get some rallies going".

In the third game, Yamaguchi blew two match points as Chen turned the tables on her. The two continued to trade match points before Yamaguchi sealed the deal in one of the game's most intense rivalries.

"She was pretty tired as well and it was a battle of who could tough it out more", Yamaguchi said. "And in the end, I came out with the slight edge.

"We're in Japan. The crowd helped me get through it. Tomorrow is the last one. I want to enjoy it".

It's CTC vs Nishimoto in MS

The men's singles final will be fought by the tireless Chou Tien Chen and another Japanese, Nishimoto Kenta.

Like Yamaguchi, Nishimoto defeated the same opponent for the second straight week, eliminating Denmark's Anders Antonsen 22-20, 21-19 to climb into his first final on the tour.

Japan produced a third finalist in the mixed doubles as Watanabe Yuta/Higashino Arisa scored a huge victory, exacting sweet revenge against world champions Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong 21-17, 12-21, 23-21.

It was Watanabe/Higashino's first win over the Chinese pair in three years. Zheng/Huang had beaten the Japanese duo in last week's final in Tokyo.

Women's doubles will feature an all-Korean final pitting Baek Ha Na/Lee Yu Lim vs Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong.

The promising Liang Wei Keng/Wang Chan will take on either Kim Gi Jung/Jun Sa Rang or Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in the men's doubles.

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