Indian Open 2024 - Ending the Drought: Matsumoto and Nagahara's Joyous Triumph

Conor Hudson

Sun Jan 28 2024

Indian Open 2024
Mayu Matsumoto
Wakana Nagahara
Shi Yu Qi
Dechapol Puavaranukroh
Sapsiree Taerattanachai

The Indian Open 2024 proved to be a groundbreaking victory for Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara. The duo clinched their first title in nearly three years, putting an end to their trophy drought. With smiles of elation that never left their faces, Matsumoto and Nagahara celebrated their hard-fought win in the women's doubles final. This triumph marks a significant milestone in their badminton journey.

For the two-time world champions, Matsumoto and Nagahara, the India Open 2024 title was their first since the All England tournament was affected by COVID in March 2021. The Japanese players were overjoyed after defeating Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu in a dominant 21-12, 21-13 victory that lasted 51 minutes. Reflecting on their previous achievements, Matsumoto stated, "Even the All England tournament we won in 2021 didn't include all the top pairs due to COVID. This time, most of the top pairs were present, so I am extremely satisfied."

Nagahara added, "In previous tournaments, we performed well but couldn't win in the final. We might have reached the semifinals or finals, but we couldn't secure victory. This time, we were able to win, so it's a significant accomplishment. We started losing a bit of confidence when we couldn't win titles. Our coaches wanted us to be more confident, and this time we played with confidence and succeeded."

Breaking the dry spell for the reigning badminton champions were two other outstanding victories during the past weekend. Shi Yu Qi, who hadn't won a title in over a year since the SATHIO GROUP Australian Open in November 2022, finally secured a championship. Despite reaching five finals, including last week's PETRONAS Malaysia Open, Shi faced quick defeats. Acknowledging the significance of this triumph, Shi admitted that it put an end to a challenging period in which he lost five consecutive finals. On Sunday, he faced a tough challenge from Lee Cheuk Yiu, who gave his all before the Chinese shuttler emerged victorious with scores of 23-21, 21-17. Shi, ranked second in the world, commented, "It was a tough test. Last year was a difficult year, and now this is my second tournament in two weeks, following the Malaysia Open. Winning the gold medal means a lot."

Similarly, for Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai, their achievements in 2021 and 2022 were overshadowed by inconsistent performances in 2023, with rare appearances in the quarterfinals. Their most recent title was the PERODUA Malaysia Masters in May 2023, and their last Super 750 championship dated back to the Japan Open in September 2022. Hence, when they emerged victorious with a 21-16, 21-16 triumph over Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin in the final, Taerattachanachai exuberantly celebrated with her signature flips upon clinching the final point.

The Indian Open 2024 witnessed moments of immense joy and relief for the triumphant badminton players. Matsumoto and Nagahara finally ended their long wait for a title, while Shi Yu Qi and Puavaranukroh/Taerattanachai also broke their trophy droughts. These victories exemplify the perseverance and determination required to overcome setbacks and achieve success in the world of badminton.