THE BEST OF ASIA: Saena Kawakami (Japan)
Saena Kawakami is a Japanese player, currently ranked #50 in BWF’s world ranking for women’s singles. At only 23 years of age, Kawakami already has 109 career wins in women’s singles, meaning that she’s already on the way to becoming the best of Asia’s player!
Kawakami came striking into the badminton world. In 2014, when she was at the beginning of her professional career, she had already won a silver medal at the YONEX KOREA JUNIOR OPEN BADMINTON CHAMPIONSHIPS 2014 as she went up against her compatriot Natsuki NIDAIRA in the finals. A very impressive start as a badminton player.
The following year was even more impressive as she stood in the very top of the podium not once, but multiple times. At the YONEX DUTCH JUNIOR 2015, she won gold as she defeated Malaysian player LEE Ying Ying 21-16, 21-17. Then, she continued to dominate at the SKYCITY NEW ZEALAND OPEN where she beat Chinese player HE Bing Jiao in 2 games (21-16, 21-18) to claim another title. But she didn’t just stop there, and instead collected her 3rd title of the year at the YONEX-SUNRISE VIETNAM OPEN when she won against Indonesian player Fitriani in a thrilling 3 games, which lasted over 1 hour!
In 2016 she continued to compete in more international tournaments, racking up more medals as well. She won silver 3 times, at the CIPUTRA HANOI - YONEX SUNRISE VIETNAM INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE 2016, YONEX US OPEN and the CHINESE TAIPEI MASTERS. The next year was even better for Kawakami. She won more silver medals at the CHINA MASTERS 2017 and SKYCITY NEW ZEALAND OPEN 2017, but she finally earned her gold medals again at the YONEX OPEN CHINESE TAIPEI 2017 and 2017 YONEX CANADA OPEN after defeating Malaysian player GOH Jin Wei and Scottish player GOH Jin Wei respectively.
Kawakami continued fighting in 2018 and 2019, winning silver at the YONEX SWISS OPEN 2019 and gold at the ORLÉANS MASTERS 2019 and YONEX OSAKA INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE 2019. We are so excited to see more of her journey! We can’t wait for her to compete and win more medals.