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Higashino and Watanabe Reach No. 1 in Badminton Mixed Doubles World Rankings for First Time

The longtime partners climbed from No. 2 to the top spot in this week's mixed doubles world rankings released by the Badminton World Federation.

Yuta Watanabe (left) and Arisa Higashino (Shuji Kajiyama/AP)

Arisa Higashino and Yuta Watanabe climbed to No. 1 in the Badminton World Federation's mixed doubles rankings for the first time on Tuesday, November 8.

How are rankings determined?

The BWF website includes the following explanation: "The ranking includes up to 10 tournaments with the highest points earned over the last 52 weeks."

Higashino and Watanabe, who were No. 2 in the previous rankings, have 109,700 points. China's Si Wei Zheng and Ya Qiong Huang, who moved up one spot in the rankings, are the current No. 2 with 108,600 points.

Thailand's Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanchai dropped from first to third this week.

Higashino, 26, and Watanabe, 25, have had a long successful partnership. They teamed up to earn a bronze medal at the 2014 BWF World Junior Championships in Malaysia.

Seven years later, Higashino and Watanabe claimed the bronze, Japan's first-ever Olympic medal in mixed doubles, at the Tokyo Games.

Higashino and Watanabe's Success on Global Stage

Their success on the global stage in recent years has included a bronze at the 2019 BWF World Championships in Switzerland, followed by back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2021 and this year in the same tournament in Spain and Tokyo, respectively.

In March, Higashino and Watanabe won the mixed doubles title at the All England Open. They were the runners-up at the Indonesia Open in June and the Japan Open, held from August 30-September 4, in Osaka. They also placed third at the Badminton Asia Championships, which wrapped up on May 1, in Manila.

Author:  Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward's [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven.

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