Japanese pair has unfinished business at OUE Singapore Open
They have reached the OUE Singapore Open final three times in the last four editions, but have never won it.
World No. 1 women's doubles pair Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi clearly have unfinished business as they return to the Singapore Indoor Stadium from tomorrow to Sunday.
The only difference, and a major one too, is that the Japanese duo will enter this year's competition as Olympic champions, their country's first in badminton.
"We got to the final in 2013, 2015 and 2016, but we were never champions," said 26-year-old Takahashi.
"However, I feel the OUE Open is still a rather favourable tournament for us. We will try to win it this year and, of course as always, we will focus from the first round."
Matsutomo added: "Unfortunately, we had to withdraw from last year's final due to my injury.
"But that probably is one of the main factors why we could win a gold medal in Rio last August because I could recover quickly instead of getting worse.
"This year, we promise to do our best, especially in front of the Singapore fans who are very supportive of us."
At Rio 2016, Matsutomo and Takahashi did just that as they went all the way, beating Denmark's Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl in the final.
Matsutomo, 25, said: "After returning to Japan with the gold medal from Rio, more people recognise us and more are interested in badminton now.
"But the most delightful thing for me is we give hope to young children that sporting dreams can come true.
"This would be the ultimate target for the rest of my career as a badminton player."
Japanese badminton is definitely on the rise, with a total of six singles and pairs in the world's top 10 for the women's singles, as well as men's and women's doubles categories.
One such prospect is 19-year-old world No. 4 Akane Yamaguchi, a two-time World Junior champion (2013 and 2014), who lost to Ratchanok Intanon in last year's OUE Open final.
Aged 16 years and three months, Yamaguchi became the youngest player to win a BWF Super Series tournament when she beat compatriot Shizuka Uchida to clinch the 2013 Japan Open women's singles title.
Setting her sights on glory this week and beyond, Yamaguchi said: "I would like to become world No. 1 some day because I would like to get more support wherever I play.
"I know it's not going to be easy but this week, I'm going to try to win the OUE Singapore Open because it's a tournament I have always wanted to win."
- Tickets for the OUE Open are available through Sports Hub Tix and APAC Tix.