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BIRMINGHAM, England (Kyodo) Eriko Hirose was defeated by Chinese top seed Wang Shixian in the women’s singles final on Sunday, failing in her bid to become the first Japanese woman in 34 years to win the All England Open.

Hirose, who finished in third place at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last November, was beaten by Wang 24-22, 21-18. Hirose was trying to become the first Japanese to win the title since Hiroe Yuki achieved the feat in 1977.

Hirose, who is from Aomori — one of the earthquake stricken areas in Japan — expressed her grief following reports of the devastation that has crippled her country.

“I am so sad to hear these reports and very worried, but I hope that by doing my best here I was able to give people back home some degree of encouragement,” Hirose said. “I gave it all I had. My goal is to become No. 1 in the world,” she said.

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