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Saturday, 26 May 2018 | MYT 6:56 PM

Japan crush Thailand to clinch first Uber Cup in 37 years

BANGKOK: Japan ended a 37-year wait for a Uber Cup title after beating Thailand 3-0.

On Saturday, Akane Yamaguchi secured a stunning 21-15, 21-19 win over home favourite Ratchanok Intanon 21-15, 21-19 in the first singles at Impact Arena to break the hearts of the local fans.

That motivated Japan even further as Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota and reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara stayed solid to win their respectively matches.

Japan has never won the Cup since the 1981 edition.

Nozomi was proud of the team's success after a long period of time.

"A little pep talk by our head coach (Park Joo-bong) made all the difference. He told us that Thailands fans will be there in full force but told us to focus in our game," said Nozomi.

"Akane played without showing any nerves and that motivated us. We played our part for this wonderful victory." she added.

Japan will now turn their attention to the World Championships in China and Asian Games in Indonesia in August.

Said Thailand's high performance director Rexy Mainaky: "Our players could not bring out the best after the hard-fought win against China (on Friday).

Reaching the final for the first time will surely be a bid boost for us to achieve more good results."

UBER CUP

FINAL

Japan bt Thailand 3-0 (Akane Yamaguchi bt Ratchanok Intanon 21-15, 21-19; Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota bt Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Puttita Supajirakul 21-18, 21-12; Nozomi Okuhara bt Nichaon Jindapol 21-12, 21-9).