MANILA – Sayaka Takahashi stepped up once more and brought Japan its second consecutive title in the women's division of the 2020 SMART Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Japan capped its dominant campaign by sweeping Korea, 3-0.
Takahashi stopped Sung Ji Hyun to take the crown for Japan in the second singles match, 21-16, 21-12, in a tussle that lasted for 24 minutes.
"I was very confident that we can be champions with this team," Takahashi said. "I'm happy that we became champions. It was a good experience for the next ones to come."
Former world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi summoned her experience to deny Korean's young stalwart, An Se Young, in three games, 21-18, 19-21, 23-21. That triumph put Japan on the board after the opening singles match.
An arrived at match point, 20-16, as Yamaguchi succumbed to errors, but the Japanese veteran managed to level the game at 20. She then maximized her lone match point of the rubber to get the win for her side.
Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota later fended off Lee Seo Hee and Shin Seung Chan in the lone doubles match to give the eventual champions the 2-0 lead, 21-16, 21-16.
Also part of Japan's team are: Aya Ohori, Riko Gunji, Mayu Matsumoto, Nami Matsuyama, Wakana Nagahara, and Chiharu Shida.
Malaysia and Thailand were awarded the bronze medals.
Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand also join Japan in the 2020 Uber Cup slated from May 16 to 24 in Aarhus, Denmark.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).