Taipei, World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) and Taiwan’s top men’s doubles team are set to compete for their respective titles at the Yonex Thailand Open in Bangkok after winning their semifinal matches Saturday.
The 26-year-old Tai battled past 23-year-old Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark (No. 18) 21-8, 23-21 for her place in the women’s singles finals.
Tai sped through the first game and seemed on her way to an easy victory after taking a 6-2 lead in the second game.
But Blichfeldt went on a 9-1 run to take an 11-7 lead and nursed it until she had four game points at 20-16. Tai, however, pulled even at 20-20 and saved another game point at 21-20 before clinching the match.
She will face 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalist Carolina Marin of Spain, a good test to see where Tai stands after the long break taken by the world badminton tour because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the men’s doubles, the world No. 7 Taiwanese pair of Lee Yang (李洋) and Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟) met their strongest opponents in the tournament so far, world No. 8 Choi Sol-gyu and Seo Seung-jae of South Korea, in the semifinals.
After the teams each took a game, Lee and Wang secured a lead at the start of the third game that they never gave up and earned their spot in the finals 15-21, 21-14, 21-14.
They will next meet Tan Wee Kiong (陳蔚強) and Goh V Shem (吳蔚昇) of Malaysia on Sunday.
Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen (周天成), the world No. 2 in men’s singles, was playing for a spot in the final in the men’s singles against world No. 8 Angus Ng Ka-long (伍家朗) of Hong Kong, whom he had beaten in 10 of their 16 previous meetings.
But Chou lost after taking the first game, 17-21, 21-18, 21-15.
Chou had chances to put away the match in the second game, taking leads of 13-7 and 17-14, but his Hong Kong opponent took seven of the last eight points to extend the match. He also struggled late in the final game, winning only three of the last 11 points.
The Bangkok event is the first of three tournaments organized by the Badminton World Federation in the Thai capital, with the other two being the Toyota Thailand Open from Jan. 19 to 24 and the rescheduled 2020 World Tour Finals from Jan. 27 to 31.
However, China and Japan have both withdrawn from the events amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, weakening the fields.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel