Top-seeded pair Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota were crowned women's doubles champions at the Denmark Open after winning an all-Japanese final Sunday against No. 2-seeded pair Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara.

In a spirited battle, Fukushima and Hirota outlasted the back-to-back world champions to claim a 21-10, 16-21, 21-18 victory in 71 minutes at Odense Sports Park.

They took a 5-1 second-game lead before Matsumoto and Nagahara clawed their way back, winning six consecutive points on the way to forcing a third game.

Fukushima and Hirota had advanced to the tournament decider with a straight-games win over unseeded Danes Christine Busch and Amalie Schulz. Matsumoto and Nagahara also needed just two games in their semifinal against No. 4 seeded Bulgarian sisters Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva.

Prior to the tournament, the Nippon Badminton Association said 15 players, including men's world No. 1 Kento Momota, had pulled out of the Denmark Open.

An association source said the players' teams requested the withdrawals from the event, which started Oct. 13, due to their concerns over increasing coronavirus infections in Europe.

The tournament is the first on the world tour since March's All-England Open. The Denmark Open was to be Momota's competitive return after the 26-year-old suffered a broken right eye socket in a car accident on Jan. 13, the morning after he won the Malaysia Masters championship.

With no more international tournaments this year, Momota's first tournament back is now expected to be Japan's national championships in December.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.