HUELVA, Spain – Tokyo Olympic bronze medalists Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino became the first Japanese mixed-doubles team to reach a final at the badminton world championships on Saturday, with Japanese players also set to appear in two other finals.
Ranked fourth in the world, Watanabe and Higashino needed just 37 minutes to dispatch 53rd-ranked compatriots Kyohei Yamashita and Naru Shinoya in a comfortable 21-13, 21-8 semifinal win.
The bronze-winning pair from the last worlds, in 2019, will face Thailand’s second-seeded Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai in the final.
“We’ll try to give all we have and maintain our high concentration levels” in the final, Watanabe said.
Fifth-seeded men’s doubles pair Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi reached their second straight final, beating No. 9 seeds Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi of Malaysia 21-13, 21-9 in their semifinal.
Hoki and Kobayashi will face 16th-seeded Chinese duo He Jinting and Tan Qiang in the final.
Akane Yamaguchi reached her first women’s singles final. The second-seeded 2018 bronze medalist beat Zhang Yiman of China 21-19, 21-19 to book her place in the final against top seed Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan.
Two-time defending champions and No. 4 seeds Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto failed in their bid to become the first to win three straight women’s doubles world championships, losing to top-seeded Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan of China 21-15, 21-12 in their semifinal.
Partnering with each other for the first time in over four months, and with Nagahara carrying a right shoulder injury, the Japanese pair, who went out in the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics, fell short against the Olympic silver medalists.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.