Akane Pursues a "Hat-Trick" at Today's Finals
Akane Yamaguchi is on fire. The women's singles badminton player has now taken part in three finals in a row: the Denmark Open (19-24 October), French Open (26-31 October), and now the Indonesia Masters (16-21 November).
The Denmark Open and French Open have ended and the results are known: Akane Yamaguchi came out as champion. At the Denmark Open, the third-ranked badminton player in the world defeated An Seyoung from Korea with a rubber game 18-21, 25-23, 5-16. The third game was discontinued due to An Seyoung's injury.
A week later in Paris, the 24-year-old won again. Akane Yamaguchi beat her compatriot Sayaka Takahashi in straight games 21-18, 21-12.
Now, at the Indonesia Masters, the opportunity to win three titles in a row (or a ‘hat-trick’) is open. Akane Yamaguchi is back in another final. The ticket to the final was obtained after an easy semi-finals win over Indian player P.V. Sindhu in two straight games 21-13, 21-9. The match was held at the Bali International Convention Center, Badung, Bali, on Saturday local time (20/11/2021). The match between first seed Akane Yamaguchi and third seed Sindhu lasted only 32 minutes.
This victory reduces the gap in the history of Yamaguchi vs. Sindhu to 8-12. She also avenged the defeat in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. At that time, Akane Yamaguchi lost to P. V. Sindhu 13-21, 20-22.
In the final round of the Indonesia Masters 2021 which provides a total prize of USD $600,000, Yamaguchi will meet her current rival, An Seyoung from Korea. This fourth-seeded player stopped Phittayaporn Chaiwan from Thailand with a straight game of 21-16, 21-13. This victory means that An Seyoung, who is currently ranked 6th in the world, has won four of her six encounters with Phittayaporn Chaiwan, who is ranked 27th in the world.
The final will be their seventh meeting, with Akane Yamaguchi having won four times. The match is predicted to be fierce because the last two meetings lasted three games.
Besides Akane Yamaguchi in women's singles, Japan also placed several representatives in men's singles through Kento Momota, Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi in men's doubles, and women's doubles pair Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Sida. Kento will face Anders Antonsen of Denmark and Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi will take on the top seed who is the only remaining host representative, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo. Meanwhile, in the women's doubles, Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Sida, who is placed as the fourth seed, will meet the unseeded Korean representative Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong.
One other final, in mixed doubles, pitted first seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai from Thailand will battle it out with eighth seeds from Hong Kong Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet.