"I don't want to be afraid": Akane Yamaguchi after setting up Olympics 2021 badminton quarterfinal clash with PV Sindhu

PV Sindhu along with her coach in the stands
PV Sindhu along with her coach in the stands

After winning her round of 16 match, PV Sindhu had enough time to recover and stretch, while Japan's Akane Yamaguchi was just getting started with hers. Along with her South Korean coach Park Tae-Sang, Sindhu made sure she didn't miss even a single point of her next opponent.

Sindhu watched the entire 40 minutes match of Kim Gaeun (South Korea) and Akane Yamaguchi (Japan), the latter winning 21-17, 21-18 in 40 minutes.

After the match, Sportskeeda representative Abhijit Deshmukh, who was the only Indian sports journalist present, asked former world no.1 Yagamuchi about playing PV Sindhu's in quarterfinal to which she replied:

"PV Sindhu is very tall and also an aggressive player. She has an aggressive style, so I need to be careful with that. Even though she is an aggressive player, I don't want to be afraid of her and want to go for it."

Playing at the Olympics in Japan is very important: Yamaguchi

On being asked how important it is to play at the Olympic Games in her homeland, Yamaguchi said:

"Before the Olympic games, I felt the games like other tournaments. But now that the Olympics have been postponed to one year and games are happening under difficult circumstances because of COVID-19. Now I feel how important the Olympics are."

Yamaguchi is 156 cm (5 ft 1 inch) while Sindhu is 179 cm (5 ft 11 inch). Sindhu leads the head-to-head tie against Yamaguchi 11-7 in 18 matches and will start as favorite on Friday.

Third seed Japanese player Nozomi Okuhara also reached the quarterfinals, defeating Michelle Li 21-9, 21-7 in just 34 mins. She will now face He Bing Jiao of China in the next round. Okuhara was found screaming a lot after winning several points during the game.

On being asked how it felt to play in empty stadiums, she said:

"During the match, in tough situations, the roar of the audience helps a lot. But now since there is no audience, one needs to motivate themselves. That's why I was getting louder today, to motivate myself."

Japan is represented by 13 badminton players at the Tokyo Olympics. The duo of Yuta Watanabe & Arisa Higashino will play for the mixed doubles Bronze medal match.

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Edited by Rohit Mishra
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