Akane Yamaguchi (山口 茜 Yamaguchi Akane, born 6 June 1997) is a Japanese badminton player, who is a singles specialist and a member of the Kumamoto Saishunkan Badminton team. She was the first Japanese player to hold the number 1 position in the BWF women's singles ranking, on 19 April 2018.
Yamaguchi at Indonesia Open Super Series Premier 2015
|Born||6 June 1997|
Katsuyama, Fukui, Japan
|Height||1.56 m (5 ft 1 in)|
|Weight||55 kg (121 lb)|
|Career record||288 wins, 99 losses|
|Highest ranking||1 (19 April 2018)|
|Current ranking||4 (29 October 2019)|
Yamaguchi won the national junior championship as a primary school student in 2010. She also won the 2014 and 2017 national championships, and adult competitions such as the 2017 BWF Super Series Finals. She also helped Japan finish as runner-up in the 2014 Uber Cup and the 2015 Sudirman Cup and won a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games.
- 1 Career
- 2 Technical evaluation
- 3 Achievements
- 3.1 BWF World Championships
- 3.2 Asian Games
- 3.3 Asian Championships
- 3.4 East Asian Games
- 3.5 Youth Olympic Games
- 3.6 BWF World Junior Championships
- 3.7 Asian Youth Games
- 3.8 Asian Junior Championships
- 3.9 BWF World Tour (5 titles, 2 runners-up)
- 3.10 BWF Superseries (5 titles, 5 runners-up)
- 3.11 BWF Grand Prix (2 titles, 1 runner-up)
- 3.12 BWF International Challenge/Series (1 runner-up)
- 4 Performance timeline
- 5 Record against selected opponents
- 6 Career overview
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In July 2012, Yamaguchi represented Japan at the 2012 Asian Junior Badminton Championships held in Gimcheon, South Korea. In the women's singles finals, she won the bronze medal with a score of 0–2 (19–21, 9–21) losing to her teammate Nozomi Okuhara. She reached the finals of the BWF World Junior Championships three years in a row, winning a silver medal at the 2012 BWF World Junior Championships in Chiba, Japan, and a gold medal at the 2013 BWF World Junior Championships in Bangkok and at the 2014 BWF World Junior Championships in Alor Setar, Malaysia.
In April 2013, Yamaguchi finished second at the Osaka International in the women's singles event final with a score of 0–2 (20–22, 16–21) and was women's singles runner-up in the 2013 New Zealand Open Grand Prix scoring 1–2 (17–21, 21–18, 20–22) in the final. Aged 16, Yamaguchi became the youngest player to win the BWF Super Series tournament, beating Shizuka Uchida in the finals of the 2013 Japan Super Series. This was the first time a Japanese woman had won the ladies' singles at the Japan Open and the first victory for Japan in the Japan Open.
While in high school, Yamaguchi won the national badminton competition, competing in the women's singles event. At the second Asian Youth Games held in Nanjing in August 2013, where she represented the Fukushima Prefectural Tomioka High School, she won a gold medal in mixed doubles. In October she represented Japan at the East Asian Games badminton competition held in the Tianjin Binhai New Area (People's Republic of China) where she finished third in the women's singles. In her third year of high school, she decided not to compete at the World Championship in August and gave priority to the intramural event that was held at the same time. There she won the first three consecutive wins in singles. After graduating from high school, she joined Re-Shunkan Pharmaceutical badminton team.
In January 2014, Yamaguchi reached and won the second and eighth rounds at the 2014 Korea Open Super Series and the 2014 Malaysia Super Series Premier respectively. In February she won the Badminton Asia Junior Championships women's singles. In March she competed in the first round of the 2014 All England Super Series Premier. In June she played in three consecutive tournaments, including the 2014 Japan Super Series, the 2014 Indonesia Super Series Premier, and the 2014 Australian Super Series, though each time she was eliminated after the first round. In November 2014, she was the runner-up in the 2014 China Open Super Series Premier. In September she represented Japan in the 2014 Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea, helping her team win the women's team bronze medal.
At the opening ceremony of the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, on 16 August, she served as the flag-bearer for the Japanese team. She was the number one seed in the women's singles event, eventually winning the women's singles silver medal.
In November she won both the BWF Super Series Premier China Open. She then won the All Japan General Championships in December; her victory at the age of 17 years and 6 months made her the second youngest player to do so. In December she finished third in the BWF Super Series Final held in Dubai, UAE.
In March 2015, Yamaguchi reached the women's singles semifinal in the 2015 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold. In May she represented the Japanese team in the Sudirman Cup in her second singles appearance. The Japanese team eventually advanced to the quarterfinals and semifinals. Although Yamaguchi was not scheduled to play. In the final against the defending champions, China, the coach arranged for her to play since Yamaguchi had defeated both China's top players. The Chinese team took a 2–0 lead in the women's finals. Yamaguchi's opponent was the London Olympics gold medalist Li Xuerui. In the end, Yamaguchi defeated her 2–0 (21–23, 14–21), and the Japanese team was a runner-up. This marked the first time Japan had earned a victory in the Sudirman Cup Championship.
Yamaguchi won her second Super Series title at the Korea Open, beating Sung Ji Hyun, the fifth seed. She followed this with a win at the Denmark Open held at Odense, making her the fourth non-Chinese women's singles player to win two consecutive Super Series following Tai Tzu Ying, Ratchanok Intanon and Tine Baun. On her way to victory, Yamaguchi defeated two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Carolina Marin in a close, three-set match and her teammate Nozomi Okuhara, whom she had never beaten prior to the Olympic Games. In May 2016, she was selected as the main player for the women's singles in the 2016 Uber Cup, helping the Japanese team win third place in the women's team competition.
In August she represented Japan for the first time in the women's singles badminton event at the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, while in the semifinals, facing teammate and 6th seed Nozomi Okuhara, she lost and was eliminated. Yamaguchi played in the 2016 Denmark Super Series Premier in October. In the women's singles final, she defeated the No. 2 seed, Tai Tzu-ying, winning the tournament. This was the first major super women's singles championship in her career.
In February 2017, Yamaguchi represented Japan at the 2017 Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and helped the team win its first mixed team championship. She also won the gold medal in the women's singles finals of the 2017 German Open Grand Prix Gold. In March she played in the 2017 India Super Series. In the women's singles semifinal, she lost to the tournament's top seed and Olympic champion, Carolina Marín. She participated in the 2017 Badminton Asia Championships held in Wuhan, China in April. She defeated Malaysian star Goh Jin Wei in the first round as the No. 2 seed; in the top eight, Yamaguchi played well and defeated the No. 6 seed 2–0.
In August 2017 Yamaguchi represented Japan in the BWF World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, where she played in the women's singles event. She was the No. 1 seed, so had a bye in the first round. She defeated Denmark's Line Kjærsfeldt 2–0 in the second round, but in the third she faced No. 9 seed Chen Yufei and was defeated 0–2 (18–21, 19–21) and eliminated. In October she played in the 2017 French Super Series. She lost the women's singles final to the tournament's top seed, Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan. Yamaguchi was the runner-up. She played in China's badminton premier super race, and in the women's singles final she swept the host's Gao Fangjie 2–0 (21–13, 21–15) to win her first women's singles championship of the year.
In December she played in the finals, defeating teammates Sayaka Sato and He Bingjiao in the group stage. She lost to India's Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, but still qualified for second place. She won the semifinal 1–2 defeating Ratchanok Intanon. In the final Yamaguchi defeated Sindhu, the World Championship runner-up, winning the women's singles championship in the Super Series Finals.
In March, Yamaguchi played in the 2018 German Open. In the women's singles final, she defeated the No. 4 seed, China's Chen Yufei, 2–1 and won the Super 300 women's singles championship. She also played in the 2018 All England Open in March losing to Tai Tzu-ying from Taiwan in the women's singles final 0–2 . On 19 April 2018, Yamaguchi became the first Japanese person to become the top-ranked singles player in the world, for which she was awarded the "Honorary Citizen Award" by the mayor of Katsuyama, Fukui, Fukui Prefecture, on 1 May 2018. In May 2018, she was selected as the main force of the Uber Cup women's singles, helping the Japanese team regain the women's team championship after 48 years.
In July she participated in the 2018 BWF World Championships held in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. She was the second seed in the women's singles. In the top four, facing the Olympic runner-up Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, she lost both games 0–2 finishing in third place in the World Championships women's singles.
She represented Japan in the Asian Games in August in Jakarta, Indonesia, and helped the Japanese women's team win the women's team gold medal. In the women's singles semifinals, facing the tournament's No. 3 seed Olympic runner-up Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, Yamaguchi lost 1–2 , winning the women's singles bronze medal.
In February 2019, Yamaguchi played in the 2019 German Open, and in the women's singles final defeated the No. 3 seed, World Championship champion, Ratchanok Intanon 2–1 to become the Super 300 women's singles champion. In March she played in the 2019 All England Open, and lost to the tournament's top seed Tai Tzu-ying in the women's singles semifinal 1–2 . She played in the 2019 Malaysia Open in April. In the women's singles final, she lost to the top seed of the tournament, Tai Tzu-ying, 0–2 . She was the Super 750 female singles runner-up.
She played in the 2019 Badminton Asia Championships in April, breaking through the four-strong Chinese women's singles players. In the semifinal she defeated Chen Yufei, the top seed in China, making it through to the final where she faced another Chinese star, He Bingjiao. Yamaguchi defeated Bingjiao, winning the first Badminton Asia Championship for the Japanese team. In the same month, she played in the New Zealand Open. In the women's singles semifinal, there she lost to the tournament's No. 6 seed Li Xuerui of China 1–2 . In May she represented Japan at the 2019 Sudirman Cup held in Nanning, Guangxi Sports Center, China, helping the Japanese team win the mixed group runner-up.
In July 2019, she won the Japan Open competition, her second Japan Open title since her first six years prior. That same month, she won a match against Taiwanese competitor Tai Tzu-ying, the highest-ranked player in the world, placing her in the finals of her first Indonesia Open. In August 2019, Yamaguchi was defeated in the second round of 2019 BWF World Championships held at Basel, Switzerland, by 20-year-old Yeo Jia Min of Singapore 0–2 .
Chinese player Sun Yu has commented on Yamaguchi's style, pointing out that while small, she is diligent and runs swiftly, and that she is capable of picking up the kinds of difficult shots that others are typically unable to save. Sun Yu also suggests that her style of play is based upon patience and consistent performance, observing that she does not make mistakes often, while simultaneously taking advantage to score from opponents who rush and make errors. Another Chinese player, Wang Shixian, agrees that Yamaguchi is quick and nimble, and that for challengers to be successful, they need to be capable of matching her speed.
In 2019, Li Yongbo, head coach of the Chinese team, commented on the Japanese teenager: "She plays with patience and quality. However, due to her short stature, there is not much room for further development. While I think talent in badminton is generally not limited by height restrictions, her skill is not enough to make up for her height. As for her future, we have to see how she holds up in the coming year."
BWF World ChampionshipsEdit
|2018||Nanjing Youth Olympic Sports Park Indoor Arena, Nanjing, China||P. V. Sindhu||16–21, 22–24||Bronze|
|2018||Istora Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta, Indonesia||P. V. Sindhu||17–21, 21–15, 10–21||Bronze|
|2019||Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium, Wuhan, China||He Bingjiao||21–19, 21–9||Gold|
|2017||Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium, Wuhan, China||Tai Tzu-ying||21–18, 11–21, 18–21||Silver|
East Asian GamesEdit
|2013||Binhai New Area Dagang Gymnasium, Tianjin, China||Wang Shixian||21–19, 19–21, 16–21||Bronze|
Youth Olympic GamesEdit
|2014||Nanjing Sport Institute, Nanjing, China||He Bingjiao||24–22, 21–23, 17–21||Silver|
BWF World Junior ChampionshipsEdit
|2014||Stadium Sultan Abdul Halim, Alor Setar, Malaysia||He Bingjiao||14–21, 21–18, 21–13||Gold|
|2013||Hua Mark Indoor Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand||Aya Ohori||21–11, 21–13||Gold|
|2012||Chiba Port Arena, Chiba, Japan||Nozomi Okuhara||12–21, 9–21||Silver|
Asian Youth GamesEdit
|2013||Nanjing Sport Institute,
|Minoru Koga|| Dechapol Puavaranukroh
|21–19, 19–21, 21–17||Gold|
Asian Junior ChampionshipsEdit
|2014||Taipei Gymnasium, Taipei, Chinese Taipei||Chen Yufei||21–11, 16–21, 21–13||Gold|
|2012||Gimcheon Indoor Stadium, Gimcheon, South Korea||Nozomi Okuhara||19–21, 9–21||Bronze|
BWF World Tour (5 titles, 2 runners-up)Edit
The BWF World Tour, which was announced on 19 March 2017 and implemented in 2018, is a series of elite badminton tournaments sanctioned by Badminton World Federation (BWF). The BWF World Tours are divided into levels of World Tour Finals, Super 1000, Super 750, Super 500, Super 300 (part of the HSBC World Tour), and the BWF Tour Super 100.
|2019||Japan Open||Super 750||Nozomi Okuhara||21–13, 21–15||Winner|
|2019||Indonesia Open||Super 1000||P. V. Sindhu||21–15, 21–16||Winner|
|2019||Malaysia Open||Super 750||Tai Tzu-ying||16–21, 19–21||Runner-up|
|2019||German Open||Super 300||Ratchanok Intanon||16–21, 21–14, 25–23||Winner|
|2018||French Open||Super 750||Tai Tzu-ying||22–20, 17–21, 21–13||Winner|
|2018||All England Open||Super 1000||Tai Tzu-ying||20–22, 13–21||Runner-up|
|2018||German Open||Super 300||Chen Yufei||21–19, 6–21, 21–12||Winner|
BWF Superseries (5 titles, 5 runners-up)Edit
The BWF Superseries, which was launched on 14 December 2006 and implemented in 2007, is a series of elite badminton tournaments, sanctioned by Badminton World Federation (BWF). BWF Superseries levels are Superseries and Superseries Premier. A season of Superseries consists of twelve tournaments around the world that have been introduced since 2011. Successful players are invited to the Superseries Finals, which are held at the end of each year.
|2017||Dubai World Superseries Finals||P. V. Sindhu||15–21, 21–12, 21–19||Winner|
|2017||China Open||Gao Fangjie||21–13, 21–15||Winner|
|2017||French Open||Tai Tzu-ying||4–21, 16–21||Runner-up|
|2017||Denmark Open||Ratchanok Intanon||21–14, 15–21, 19–21||Runner-up|
|2017||Australian Open||Nozomi Okuhara||12–21, 23–21, 17–21||Runner-up|
|2016||Denmark Open||Tai Tzu-ying||19–21, 21–14, 21–12||Winner|
|2016||Korea Open||Sung Ji-hyun||20–22, 21–15, 21–18||Winner|
|2015||Japan Open||Nozomi Okuhara||18–21, 12–21||Runner-up|
|2014||China Open||Saina Nehwal||12–21, 20–22||Runner-up|
|2013||Japan Open||Shizuka Uchida||21–15, 21–19||Winner|
BWF Grand Prix (2 titles, 1 runner-up)Edit
|2017||German Open||Carolina Marín||Walkover||Winner|
|2015||Bitburger Open||Busanan Ongbumrungpan||16–21, 21–14, 21–13||Winner|
|2013||New Zealand Open||Deng Xuan||17–21, 21–18, 20–22||Runner-up|
BWF International Challenge/Series (1 runner-up)Edit
|2013||Osaka International||Kaori Imabeppu||20–22, 16–21||Runner-up|
- Junior level
|Asia Junior Championships||Gold||Bronze||Bronze|
|World Junior Championships||Silver||4th||Bronze|
- Senior level
|East Asian Games||Bronze|
|Asia Mixed Team Championships||N/A||Gold||N/A||A|
- Junior level
|Asian Youth Games||R16 (GS)|
|Asia Junior Championships|| Bronze (GS)
|World Junior Championships|| Silver (GS)
|Youth Olympic Games|| Silver (GS)|
- Senior level
|East Asian Games||Bronze|
|BWF World Championships||R3||Bronze||R2|
|BWF World Tour|
|Malaysia Masters||SF||R1||SF (2018)|
|Indonesian Masters||A||R2||R2 (2019)|
|German Open||W||W||W (2017, 2018, 2019)|
|All England Open||F||SF||F (2018)|
|Malaysia Open||QF||F||F (2019)|
|Singapore Open||A||SF||SF (2016, 2019)|
|New Zealand Open||A||SF||F (2013)|
|Indonesia Open||QF||W||W (2019)|
|Japan Open||QF||W||W (2013, 2019)|
|Thailand Open||QF||w/d||QF (2018)|
|China Open||SF||R1||W (2017)|
|Korea Open||SF||R1||W (2016)|
|Denmark Open||R2||R1||W (2016)|
|French Open||W||SF||W (2018)|
|Fuzhou China Open||R2||R1||R2 (2018)|
|Hong Kong Open||QF||SF||SF (2019)|
|BWF World Tour Finals||SF||Report||W (2017)|
|BWF Super Series|
|All England Open||A||R1||R2||SF||SF (2017)|
|India Open||A||R2||SF||SF (2017)|
|Malaysia Open||A||QF||R2||R1||QF||QF (2014, 2017)|
|Singapore Open||A||QF||SF||QF||SF (2016)|
|Indonesia Open||A||R1||QF||R2||QF||QF (2015, 2017)|
|Australian Open||GPG||R1||R2||QF||F||F (2017)|
|Korea Open||A||R2||SF||W||SF||W (2016)|
|Japan Open||R1 (WS)
|Denmark Open||A||R2||R2||W||F||W (2016)|
|French Open||A||QF||R1||QF||F||F (2017)|
|China Open||A||F||R2||QF||W||W (2017)|
|Hong Kong Open||A||QF||R2||QF||QF||QF (2014, 2016, 2017)|
|BWF Super Series Finals||NQ||SF||NQ||GS||W||W (2017)|
|BWF Grand Prix and Grand Prix Gold|
|Malaysia Masters||A||R1||A||R1 (2016)|
|Swiss Open||A||SF||R1||A||SF (2015)|
|German Open||A||R1||SF||W||W (2017)|
|New Zealand Open||F||A||F (2013)|
|U.S. Open||A||SF||A||SF (2015)|
|Bitburger Open||A||W||A||W (2015)|
|Macau Open||A||SF||A||SF (2015)|
Record against selected opponentsEdit
Record against Super Series finalists, World Championships semifinalists and Olympic quarterfinalists (as of 29 June 2018):
- "Akane Yamaguchi". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 22 June 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
- "Akane Yamaguchi". Olympic Channel. Archived from the original on 10 September 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
- "Players: Akane Yamaguchi". Badminton World Federation. Archived from the original on 28 April 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "山口 茜". saishunkan-badminton.jp (in Japanese). くまもと再春館製薬所バドミントンチーム. Archived from the original on 30 March 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
- "Akane Yamaguchi Becomes First Japanese Player to Achieve World Singles No. 1!". Yonex. Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "中國點算！日本首個羽毛球世界No.1誕生". 东网体育. 26 August 2019. Archived from the original on 11 October 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "汤尤杯日本队参赛名单出炉 男单老将领军争卫冕". 联合早报. 26 August 2019. Archived from the original on 15 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "Worlds were not enough for national champion Yamaguchi". Badzine.net. Archived from the original on 11 May 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "Akane Yamaguchi signals generational shift in women's singles". Sportskeeda. Archived from the original on 17 March 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "第2回アジアユースゲームズ". badminton.or.jp. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
- "山口茜 史上初女子シングルス３連覇！団体３位、ダブルス２位". sponichi.co.jp. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- 「山口茜うっすら化粧し実業団決意 再春館製薬所が新入団発表」 Archived 13 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine（福井新聞7 October 2015 付）
- 朝日新聞デジタル. "ユース五輪、中国・南京で開幕 バドミントン山口が旗手". Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- 朝日新聞 23 August 2014 朝刊14版 19面
- "Akane Yamaguchi Wins Second Superseries Title at Korea Open". Yonex. Archived from the original on 18 March 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "Then & now: Akane Yamaguchi". International Olympic Committee. 10 January 2018. Archived from the original on 12 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
- (in Chinese)"陈雨菲爆冷击败一号种子 心态放松成获胜关键". 腾讯体育. 25 August 2017.
- "Akane Yamaguchi Becomes First Japanese Player to Achieve World Singles No. 1!". Yonex. Archived from the original on 19 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- (in Japanese)"山口茜選手に勝山市が市民栄誉賞". 福井新聞. 1 May 2018. Archived from the original on 2 May 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Kento Momota and Akane Yamaguchi capture titles at badminton's Japan Open". The Japan Times. 28 July 2019. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "Akane Yamaguchi whips world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying in Indonesia Open semi-finals". The Japan Times. 20 July 2019. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "Badminton: Top seed Akane Yamaguchi suffers opening upset at worlds". Kyodo News. 21 August 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
- "尷尬！中羽賽女單28年首次無緣決賽". 新華社. 26 August 2019. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "李永波：林丹对羽毛球理解更深 支持改11分制". 网易体育 (in Chinese). 26 August 2019. Archived from the original on 12 May 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "BWF Launches New Events Structure". Badminton World Federation. 29 November 2017. Archived from the original on 19 December 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
- "Action-Packed Season Ahead!". Badminton World Federation. 15 January 2018. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
- "MATCH RESULTS 22 OCTOBER 2017". Badminton World Federation. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
- Verma, Manish. Current Affairs Manual 2016. Diamond Pocket Books. p. 315. ISBN 9789350830161. Archived from the original on 12 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
- "BWF World Rankings". Badminton World Federation. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- "Akane YAMAGUCHI: Head To Head". Badminton World Federation. Retrieved 8 September 2017.[permanent dead link]