Hosts cap Japan Open 2022 with singles title sweep thanks to Yamaguchi Akane, Nishimoto Kenta

With two weeks of non-stop badminton coming to an end in Japan, world champion Yamaguchi is the only player to win twice; Nishimoto knocks off four in top 10 to net first career title.

By Shintaro Kano in Osaka. Created on 4 September 2022.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

All's well that ends well.

Hosts Japan swept the singles finals of the 2022 Japan Open badminton tourmanent in Osaka on Sunday (4 September) with 28-year-old Nishimoto Kenta capturing his first career title in the men's and world champion Yamaguchi Akane winning for the second successive week in the women's.

While four of the five finals on the day easily ran over an hour, Yamaguchi left nothing to chance against third see An Se Young, winning 21-9, 21-15 in 38 minutes.

"I'm glad I won - and I'm tired", Yamaguchi said. "I wasn't sure how far I could go today but I managed to leave it all out there and had fun.

"It was unbelievable for the crowd to cheer you on the way they did and it feels great to be able to respond to all the support".

The Japan Open was held for the first time in three years due to the pandemic and only Yamaguchi managed to defend her title, a testament to her incredible stamina.

Asked where she gets it from, the 25-year-old said, "I have my parents to thank for that. I got it from them, I think.

"I want to play as many matches as I can. I need to take a break and get ready for what awaits next".

Nishimoto managed to outlast the tireless 32-year-old Chou Tien Chen in a three-game slugfest (21-19, 21-23, 21-17).

Nishimoto was in the driver's seat for large parts of the match but Chou, the fourth seed here, would not go away despite looking exhausted, pushing the game to more than 90 minutes.

The 21st-ranked Japanese was able to exhale after finally getting his first title win, beating four top 10 players en-route to the championship.

"I'm full of joy but I'm so relieved I won a title", said Nishimoto, who is of the same generation as Momota Kento.

"I was really nervous. Before the match I felt like I was going to throw up. But I just had to go out there and do it so I'm glad with how things turned out.

"There was a period when I couldn't come up with the results I wanted but I hope I can get some momentum going from here. This goes to show I've been on the right track all long and I want to make sure to sustain it.

"I want to crack the top eight in the world so I can have a seed. And to do that, take it one day at a time, one practice at a time, one play at a time".

The other Japanese finalist - Watanabe Yuta/Higashino Arisa in the mixed doubles - was forced to settle for runners-up for the second straight week, allowing Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai to come from behind and win in three (16-21, 23-21, 21-18).

In just their fifth tournament together in the men's doubles, Liang Wei Keng/Wang Chang of China won their first title in their first final, beating the Danish duo of Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 21-18, 13-21, 21-17.

Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong edged Republic of Korea compatriots Baek Ha Na/Lee Yu Rim 23-21, 28-26 for the women's doubles crown.


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