Fukuhara knocked out of nationals


Ai Fukuhara’s bid to win her first national title in three years ended on Friday with a sixth-round defeat.

With the exception of last year — when she did not compete — Fukuhara had reached the quarterfinals every year since 2010. But in an up-and-down performance, she blew a three-game lead in losing 4-3 to Kyoka Kato.

“It was so bad that I wish I could go back in time,” said Fukuhara, who came out strong but had no answers when her opponent adjusted to her speed. If only this were a dream.

“I was overaggressive, stopped noticing her and that was that. The world tour is starting soon, and there’s also the worlds. I want to do what I can to avoid losing like this again.”