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Badminton: Olympic champ Li survives first-round scare in Japan Open

Published on Jun 11, 2014 4:55 PM
 
China's Li Xuerui celebrates after beating Japan's Akane Yamaguchi during their women's singles first round match at the Japan Open badminton tournament in Tokyo on June 11, 2014. China's Olympic badminton champion Li Xuerui survived a scare in the first round of the Japan Open on Wednesday, as she battled from behind to beat world junior champion Akane Yamaguchi. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - China's Olympic badminton champion Li Xuerui survived a scare in the first round of the Japan Open on Wednesday, as she battled from behind to beat world junior champion Akane Yamaguchi.

Top-seeded Li, the world No. 1, needed 65 minutes to tame the Japanese high school girl, who won last year's women's title, 17-21, 21-19, 21-18.

The 21-year-old Li, competing for the first time in the Japan Open, allowed Akane to take a 20-12 lead after a 4-all tie in the first game. Li's fightback stopped at 17-20.

Yamaguchi, 17 years old and ranked 62nd in the world, who fought through the qualifying round on Tuesday, jumped to a 7-3 lead in the second game.

 
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