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YONEX French Open 2018: Akane Yamaguchi victorious in upset of World No. 1

Date
29 October 2018

Paris — Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) may have held her World No. 1 ranking for just two weeks back in April of this year, but at the YONEX French Open 2018, she made a compelling case for why she’s still in the conversation after defeating Tai Tsu Ying (TPE) — who’s held the number one spot for nearly two years, with the exception of those two weeks in April — in a pitched, one-hour-and-17-minute match.  

The match was clearly going to be close from the start, as both women traded points, with Yamaguchi maintaining a slim lead through the first game. Tai levelled towards the end but Yamaguchi hung on to take it at 22-20. The momentum swung in Tai’s favor for the second game and forced the match to go to a deciding third. It was here that Yamaguchi’s inexhaustible stamina won out, and she eventually closed out the match, 22-20, 17-21, 21-13, for her second title of the year. “I’ve lost to her on many occasions, so of course it was a big challenge for me against Tai Tzu Ying, since she’s the top player in the world,” she told BWF.

In women’s doubles, World Champions Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara (JPN) took the podium for their second major win since the World Championships in August. They faced
a fellow #TeamYonex pair in Bulgarian sisters, Stefani and Gabriela Stoeva, who were appearing in their first major final. The Stoeva sisters fought well but it was not enough to effectively threaten the eventual victory of one of Japan’s top women’s doubles pairs, as Matsumoto and Nagahara won in straight games, 21-14, 21-19.

Full tournament results

Akane Yamaguchi: ASTROX 77, BG66 ULTIMAX
Mayu Matsumoto: DUORA 7, BG80
Wakana Nagahara: ASTROX 88 S, AEROBITE