Fukushima/Hirota Prevail – Indonesia Open: Day 6

Japan’s world No. 2 women’s doubles pair Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota claimed their second consecutive Indonesia Open title with a 21-16 21-18 win over compatriots Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi at the Istora on Sunday.

It was Fukushima/Hirota’s third title of the 2019 HSBC BWF World Tour and sixth victory in nine matches against their compatriots.

Indonesia Open champions again.

The win came with the concession that both Matsumoto and Takahashi had been battling injury all week.

As It Happened

The second seeds were into gear first and built an unassailable lead in the first game.

With knowledge they had never beaten Fukushima/Hirota after losing the opener, Matsumoto and Takahashi came out firing in the second and held the lead at 15-10 and 17-12.

But that’s where it unraveled for the Olympic and reigning HSBC BWF World Tour champions, with Fukushima/Hirota able to pick up the speed and rattle off 10 of the next 11 points to close out the match.

Hirota said of the win: “We knew our opponents weren’t in top physical condition and in the second game it was much faster.

“It’s all about qualifying for the Olympics for us. Each and every tournament we must win. Our opponents today are Olympic champions, but we haven’t been and we desperately want to go,” she said.

Despite not being in peak physical condition, Takahashi said they would look to bounce back at the Japan Open next week.

“At the moment, it’s very tight for competition in Japan among the women’s doubles teams. We played here in Indonesia to get qualifying points for the Olympics.

“We really want to get to the finals next week in Japan. Even though we struggled today, we do see a chance for us to win next week,” she said.

Takahashi (left) and Matsumoto battled injury throughout the week.

Victory for Fukushima/Hirota at the BLIBLI Indonesia Open 2019 follows titles at the Malaysian Masters in January and Australian Open in June. They are currently second in the HSBC BWF Race To Guangzhou Standings.

Did You Know?

It was the first all-Japanese women’s doubles final of 2019. Last season, there were seven Japan vs. Japan finals across the tour in women’s doubles.

Talking Point

“Today my body was not fit and it disturbed my partner’s play today.” – Matsumoto

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