Malaysia Open: Trio Blaze a Trail

Throughout its 87-year existence, a page was conspicuously missing for Korea in women’s singles and Japan in mixed doubles in tournament records until An Se Young and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino stepped up to correct the anomaly at PETRONAS Malaysia Open 2024 today.

At a near-capacity Axiata Arena, Watanabe/Higashino completed the job early doors, beating Kim Won Ho/Jeong Na Eun 21-18 21-15 in the opening final.

“I’m only hearing about this now,” was Watanabe’s spontaneous reaction when told of his feat with Higashino. “It makes me very proud to make mixed doubles history for Japan here and there’s an incentive now to defend it next year.

“We want to continue winning titles Japan haven’t won. It also motivates us to keep doing well at other tournaments.”

Higashino added: “We’ve created history before and I’m happy to create more with Yuta going forward.”

An followed suit in the very next match, taking 21 minutes more to tame three-time winner Tai Tzu Ying 10-21 21-10 21-18.

Asked how she felt about becoming the first Korean women’s singles player to win the Malaysia Open, An was also taken aback.

“Wow, really? I didn’t know that. That’s great to know and I feel amazing about it. I hope there are more titles to come. I’ve always loved playing in Malaysia,” said the 21-year-old world No.1.

“I lost to her in the semifinals of the (HSBC BWF) World Tour Finals last year. I did watch that match back and did my homework. I’m happy all my labour and efforts bore fruits.

“I’m happy I managed to win the first tournament of the year. It’s a good start to the year.”

The title was An’s fourth at the Super 1000 level. Her bid for sporting excellence continues Tuesday at India Open 2024, where she is the defending champion.

→ Results (Finals)


“If I was younger maybe with some alcohol and cigar but I’m more mature and boring now so something good to eat, that’s for sure.”Anders Antonsen joking when asked how he was going to celebrate

“We had a winter training camp before coming here and it was very tough but that set the foundations for this tournament and the season ahead.”Liang Wei Keng after he and Wang Chang defeated Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty

“We are really happy with the way we played throughout the tournament but we are not satisfied enough. We made silly mistakes but kudos to them for keeping the pressure. Hopefully we get revenge the next time.” – Rankireddy

Antonsen overcome by emotion after winning.

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