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Badminton: Matsumoto, Nagahara win world championships women's doubles

Wakana Nagahara, left, and Mayu Matsumoto of Japan stand with their medals after winning the women's badminton doubles championship match at the BWF World Championships in Nanjing, China, on Aug. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

NANJING, China (Kyodo) -- Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara came from behind on Sunday to win the badminton world championships doubles final, defeating Japanese compatriots Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota.

Playing each other for the fourth time in international competition, the 11th-seeded Matsumoto and Nagahara beat the second seeds for the first time, winning 19-21, 21-19, 22-20. The new champs, both 22-years-old, never had a lead in the final game until they reached match point at 21-20.

"I wanted to go out with us playing our best right to the end," Nagahara said. "We were able to turn things around and play for all we were worth."

"For the first time ever, winning brought tears to my eyes."

It was Japan's first world championship in women's doubles in 41 years. In 1977, Etsuko Toganoo and Emiko Ueno took gold in the inaugural worlds. Both Nagahara and Matsumoto were competing at the worlds for the first time.

"Because this is a rare view from the top spot (on the podium) I really savored it," Matsumoto said. "The two of us came here to our first worlds with a strong desire to just enjoy it as much as we could."

Later in the evening, sixth seed Kento Momota will become the first Japanese man to play in a worlds singles final when he plays third seed Shi Yuqi of China. The world championships wrap up when Japanese fifth seeds and 2017 bronze medalists Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda play Chinese fourth seeds Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen for the men's doubles championship.

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