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Asian Games: Japan wins gold in women's team badminton, 1st since 1970

Gold medalist Japan's women's badminton team pose for photographers during ceremonies at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Aug. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

JAKARTA (Kyodo) -- The Japan women's badminton team won gold at the Asian Games for the first time since 1970, beating China 3-1 in the final on Wednesday.

Singles world No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi's horror tournament continued into the final, the 21-year-old again dropping the first rubber of the tie as she did in the semifinals and quarterfinals.

This time it was China's Chen Yufei that proved too tough, beating Yamaguchi 21-15, 21-12.

With Japan in a one-match hole, it fell to Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota to even the match. The world's top-ranked doubles team beat China's most highly-rated pairing of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan in straight games (21-12, 21-17).

Facing off against He Bingjiao, and needing three games to put Japan into the lead, Nozomi Okuhara took down the 2018 World Championships singles bronze medalist in three, 21-16, 19-21, 21-15.

With Japan just needing one more win to clinch gold, it fell to the Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi combination to close it out. And that they did, beating Huang Dongping and Zheng Yu in straight games (21-16, 21-11).

"China's our biggest rival and I am extremely pleased to win this," Takahashi told reporters after the match.

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