Taiwanese badminton ace Tai Tzu-ying (???) was knocked out of the Malaysia Masters after not being able to find a way past reigning Olympic champion Chen Yufei (???) of China in their women's singles semifinal match on Saturday.
Tai, the world No. 2 and the women's singles silver medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, bowed out of the tournament after losing 21-13, 23-21 to world No. 3 Chen in a match that lasted 39 minutes at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
Despite the defeat, Tai still holds a 17-6 head-to-head advantage over Chen, including a 21-15, 17-21, 21-12 win in the final of the Thailand Open in May.
On Saturday, Tai trailed Chen for most of the opening game and was even behind 15-5 at one point after the Chinese powered ahead with eight consecutive points.
However, Tai then scored seven consecutive points of her own to shorten the gap to a three-point deficit but Chen eventually won the opening game after scoring four consecutive points at 17-13.
In the second game, Chen found match point opportunity at 20-16 before Tai rallied to save four match point opportunities to level the match briefly at 20-20.
The thriller continued with Chen later putting herself back in the lead at 22-21, before producing a smash down the line to the backhand side of the court that punched her ticket into the final.
In addition to two back-to-back semifinal finishes at the Malaysia Masters and Malaysia Open in July and June, Tai won back-to-back titles at the Indonesia Open and the Thailand Open in June and May, respectively.
The Malaysia Masters, which is being held until July 10, is a Badminton World Federation (BWF) Super 500 tournament and carries a total purse of US$360,000 (NT$10.71 million).
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel