A “nervous” Nozomi Okuhara dropped her opening game of the Uber Cup quarterfinal to unfancied Wen Chi Hsu but recovered to get herself and Japan over the line.
Playing second singles against Chinese Taipei, Okuhara knew a win would send the Japanese to their seventh consecutive semifinal.
World No.1 Akane Yamaguchi overcame the disappointment of losing to Bilqis Prasista yesterday to defeat Tai Tzu Ying 21-10 19-21 21-19 in a close match before Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota gave the 2018 champions a two-point cushion.
“First game I was nervous but after changing ends and strategy I was able to get the result. It will only get tougher here on but my teammates and I will keep trying (to win our matches),” said Okuhara, the 2017 world champion.
Okuhara, who has been struggling for fitness and was forced to retire in her Badminton Asia Championships 2022 first round match against Thet Htar Thuzar two weeks ago, promised to soldier on for Team Japan.
“I couldn’t practice properly for this tournament. It has been difficult and every game has been tough but if I’m on court, I try to forget my problems and play for the team.”
Defending champions China thumped a young Indonesian team 3-0 in the other quarterfinal, with the first two matches over in straight games – Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei beating Komang Ayu Cahya Dewi 21-12 21-11 and Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan holding off Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma/Amalia Cahaya Pratiwi 21-19 21-16.
World No.333 Prasista proved her result against Yamaguchi was no fluke by taking the first game off He Bing Jiao 21-19 and staying close in the second before losing 21-18. He used her experience to cruise through the decider 21-7.