Taiwan badminton queen Tai Tzu-ying gets first win at BWF World Tour Finals

Taiwan's badminton queen Tai Tzu-ying (???) bounced back from an earlier loss to get her first win at the 2022 HSBC BWF World Tour Finals after outdueling Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand in straight games in Bangkok on Thursday.

Ranked third in the world in women's singles Tai, a three-time former World Tour Finals champion, took down the world No. 10 Ongbamrungphan 22-20, 21-16 in a match that lasted 44 minutes on the second day of the tournament, which is being held at Bangkok's Nimibutr Arena.

The victory, which extended Tai's head-to-head record over Ongbamrungphan to 14-3, followed a 21-19, 21-19 loss to world No. 5 He Bingjiao (???) of China on the first day of the tournament a day earlier.

Tai is now 1-1 in Group B and will play her last group round-robin match against world No. 7 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand on Friday before the group's top two badminton players advance to the semifinals to face the top two from Group A.

During Thursday's match, Tai reached the opening game's mid-game interval holding an 11-9 lead and continued to power ahead to find game-point opportunity at 20-18.

From there, Ongbamrungphan rallied to save two game points to make it a 20-20 game, before Tai pocketed the next two consecutive points to win the opener 22-20.

In the second game, Tai again reached the mid-game interval with a 11-9 lead and remained in front to find herself with five match point opportunities at 20-15. Ongbamrungphan saved the first match point, before hitting a wide for Tai to win the match 21-16.

The 28-year-old Tai, who has struggled at times with nagging injuries this year, has not been as dominant this year as in the past.

Aside from winning the Taipei Open in July against a relatively weak field, she has reached the finals of major tournaments twice in 2022, at the Thailand Open in mid-May and the Indonesia Open in mid-June, both of which she won.

She lost in the semifinals of the World Championships in Tokyo in late August to Chen Yufei (???), and in her previous event, the French Open in late October, she was knocked out of the quarterfinals by He.

Meanwhile, Ongbamrungphan has so far suffered two losses, including a 21-15, 21-13 defeat to compatriot Intanon on Wednesday.

On the men's side, Taiwan's Chou Tien-chen (???), ranked fourth in the world, has also lost two consecutive matches, losing 21-15, 21-17 to world No. 3 Loh Kean Yew of Singapore on Wednesday and 21-14, 12-21, 21-19 to world No. 7 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia on Thursday.

Chou will next play world No. 5 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia on Friday for a chance to get his first win at this year's HSBC BWF World Tour Finals.

The by-invitation tournament, which carries a total purse of US$1.5 million for its five events, features the top eight individual players and pairs in the men's and women's categories, as well as the top eight mixed doubles, in the HSBC BWF World Tour Rankings.

The tournament runs from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11.

Taiwanese athletes are only competing in the women's and men's singles events. The HSBC BWF World Tour rankings are different from the overall BWF rankings because they only consider performances in HSBC BWF World Tour events.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel