LONDON – Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo, who won the women’s doubles for Japan’s first Olympic gold in badminton in Rio de Janeiro, suffered a shock defeat on the first day of the All England Open Badminton Championships on Wednesday.
Takahashi and Matsutomo, ranked second in the world, wasted a 19-18 lead in the decider, eventually going down 21-17, 10-21, 21-19 to the 14th-ranked South Korean pair of Chang Ye-na and Jung Kyung-eun at Arena Birmingham.
“We were too desperate to win points our rhythm got a bit monotonous. I wish we could’ve put up more of a fight,” Matsutomo said.
The top-ranked women’s team of Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota needed just 32 minutes to win their first-round match against Hong Kong’s Ng Tsz Yau and Yuen Sin Ying 21-17, 21-12.
Elsewhere for Japan, in the men’s singles, world No. 1 Kento Momota, Kenta Nishimoto and Kanta Tsuneyama all advanced to the second round.
In the women’s singles, Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi were among the Japanese players who secured wins.
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