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The Japanese Little Giant

It’s not that Akane Yamaguchi isn’t fast, but Carolina Marin is still striding across the field with her long legs as usual.

Tired enough in the protest after the Spaniard equalized her set 21-17 with 14-21 in the quarter-finals of the Indian Open Super 750, Yamaguchi will make a The frenzied demonstration must stop at the decision table – like a flash of lightning without the reverberation of thunder.

His signature stride heralds an upcoming smash. But twisting the rubber, closing it imperceptibly, would land it on Marin’s frontcourt with the hardest hits. After stepping back in anticipation of an outburst, Marin will begin to react to move forward, but knowing that next time she will be in vain chasing the shuttle. Known for his backhand versatility, patient resilience, damage ability, and temperament, it was those skillful surprise strikes that made Yamaguchi a consecutive winner of the Tournament.

“My second world championship was my best ever,” she told ahead of the quarter-finals, where she beat Marin 21-17, 14-21, 21- 9. When Yamaguchi was still in high school, the global trend, led by Zhang Ning and Xie Xingfang, Chinese from the previous generation, followed by Li Xuerui and Yihan Wang, was to look for big, muscular commuters. for international domination. Yamaguchi, arguably the world’s badminton player when Japan won the right to host the Olympics, was never famous.

Yamaguchi had a roller coaster ride, even though he was considered excellent at badminton as early as elementary school. She followed her father into the sport, but has been in the national spotlight since she was a teenager. While Nozomi Okuhara won her first world championship in Japan in 2017, Yamaguchi achieved success in the 2018-9 season before a series of injuries, stemming from a brutal playing style, left her. cannot compete globally. The Tokyo Olympics will end in heartbreak as PV Sindhu defeats Yamaguchi in the quarterfinals.

In fact, she’s 5’1 now. However, something else happened in Japan around 2012: Haruichi Furudate created Japan’s most beloved manga and anime character, Shoyo Hinata. The series Haikyuu! takes readers through the adventures of Hinata, a schoolboy who dreams of becoming a great volleyball star despite his small body. “My favorite manga is Haikyuu! just like Shoyo,” said Yamaguchi, his inspirational partner “Little Giant,” who inspired the series’ protagonist to dream big. — never mind that he’s not as great as a typical volleyball icon.

Yamaguchi’s sport will be resolved through those setbacks, as she hits another round of stability on the Tour. She basically found the likes of Tai Tzu Ying and Ratchanok, going up to Chen Yufei and An Se Young, and perhaps just fearing Sindhu and his big power play, despite the close contests This is leaning towards Japan.

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