• Reuters, Kyodo


Misaki Matsumoto and Ayaka Takahashi put Japan in line for their first medal at the Olympic badminton by defeating South Korea’s Jung Kyung-eun and Shin Seung-chan to reach the final of the women’s doubles on Tuesday.

The top-ranked pair defended brilliantly against the world No. 5 Koreans and were too strong at the net in the 21-16 21-15 win at the Riocentro.

The Japanese will play the winner of China’s Tang Yuanting and Yu Yang and Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl in the final on Thursday.

“Before the game we spoke about how if we won, we’d have a day off tomorrow, so let’s give it our all even if it means collapsing (on the court),” Takahashi said. “They (Jung and Shin) beat us the last time we played and so today we were able to exact some revenge.

“We won our match yesterday by attacking in the final game and that’s the way we wanted to play today from the instant we walked on the court. We were able to do that and it was a lot of fun.”

Riding a flawless rotation that has become the norm for them here, Matsutomo and Takahashi were better able to survive the fast-paced exchanges that ensued with each side trying to overpower the other.

“The South Korean pair comes at you with one hard shot after another, and we wanted to prevent them from doing that. Rather, we were the ones who were able to maintain the attack. That was the good thing today,” Matsutomo said.

“Now it’s a matter of playing the way we’re capable in the final.”

Japan’s previous Olympic medal in the sport was silver, won by the women’s pair of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa four years ago in London.

Later in the day, Nozomi Okuhara ranked sixth in the world, will face compatriot and world No. 12 Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles quarterfinals.


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