Japan storm into final of Uber Cup

Akane Yamaguchi won her Uber Cup match against Sung Ji-hyun. (AFP pic)

BANGKOK: Top seeds Japan charged into the final of badminton’s Uber Cup on Friday, beating South Korea in the semis 3-1, with doubles pair Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi securing their shot at the title.

World number two Akane Yamaguchi got Japan off to a flying start, easing to a 21-10, 21-13 win against South Korea’s Sung Ji-hyun, while Nozomi Okuhara dispatched Lee Jang-mi 21-9, 21-15.

South Korea had levelled at 1-1 with the first doubles pairing but Matsutomo and Takahashi battled to a 21-11, 17-21, 21-14 win in the deciding match.

Japanese world number nine Okuhara has yet to lose in this year’s biennial Uber Cup, which is being held in Bangkok.

“My senior teammates encouraged me to bring out my best, so I was only thinking about doing my badminton,” she told reporters afterwards.

“I think it will be a tough battle whoever I face tomorrow.”

The tournament is held alongside the men’s Thomas Cup, whose semifinals are being held later on Friday, with China, Japan, Indonesia and Denmark all hoping to move forward.

China have their eyes on a 15th Uber Cup victory.

Denmark are returning champions, but China has fielded an all-star cast of players as they seek to regain a title lost on home soil two years ago.