by Wade Townsend
Kasumi Ishikawa is one match away from claiming her fourth consecutive All Japan Championships Women Singles title with a 4-0 semi-final win over Hitomi Sato.
Sato was able to keep matters close in the first game, losing 16-14. However, her defences broke down as Ishikawa ran away with the match, winning the next three games 11-8, 11-6, 11-5.
On the opposite side of the draw Miu Hirano posted a similarity emphatic score against Honoka Hashimoto. Once again Hirano was able to win in straight games, taking the match 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, and booking herself a place in the final.
While it was a strong showing from the defensive players, there is still some gap to bridge before they are able to claim top place on the podium.
All eyes now turn to the final.
Ishikawa and Hirano have only encountered each other once before in international events. That was back in 2015 when Ishikawa won that match 4-1. However, a year and a half is a long time in the career of a junior athlete and an upset could well be on the horizon.
The final will be held today at 3pm local time.