• Staff Report


The world’s top-ranked doubles team of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will take aim at another Super Series title at the annual Japan Open, which runs from Sept. 19-24 at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

“It is tough to keep winning the World Super Series titles,” said Takahashi, who teamed up with Matsutomo to win their eighth Super Series title last weekend in Sydney, during a Tuesday news conference. “Now we’re confident that we won’t lose to anybody. But we try not to lose the mentality of a challenger, and keep aiming higher.”

Matsutomo agreed.

“We are happy that many people say Japan has gotten stronger in badminton,” she said. “But our goal is become the pair to keep winning titles.”

The duo, known by the nickname “Takamatsu” bounced back from a first-round exit in Indonesia two weeks ago to join the men’s doubles pair of Keigo Sonoda and Takeshi Kamura as well as women’s singles player Nozomi Okuhara as Australian Open champions.

“We have struggled to get through the quarterfinals in the past, but we kept going aggressively in Australia and that brought us the championship,” Sonoda said. “Now I’m looking forward to playing before Japanese fans at the Japan Open, the only Super Series competition in the country.”

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