• Kyodo


Olympic women’s doubles champions Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi lost in straight games to Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara in the third round at the World Badminton Championships on Thursday.

Matsumoto and Nagahara, the 11th seeds, needed just 37 minutes to defeat Matsutomo and Takahashi, the Rio de Janeiro Olympic gold medalists, 21-13, 21-15. The Olympic champs simply made too many mistakes, ending the match when Takahashi was set up for a smash but hit into the net to lose match point.

The victory was Matsumoto and Nagahara’s third in four career international tournaments against the Olympic champs.

Pressed hard by Matsumoto and Nagahara, who used their height advantage to good effect and attacked relentlessly, it became clear that victory was not in the cards for the veteran pair and the mistakes began to pile up.

“It got to the point where we didn’t know what to do,” Takahashi said. “We simply lost. It was a fair result and I don’t have any regrets about it.”

Matsumoto and Nagahara, both of whom are 22 years old, attacked with a plan to push their compatriots out of their favored setup — where Matsumoto plays at the net and Takahashi handles everything in the back.

“We were able to stay on the attack from start to finish,” said Matsumoto.

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