(Photo: Badmintonphoto)

Tai Tzu Ying redeems herself

5/23/2022 9:20 AM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Yash Sharma
While four of the five finals proved to be titanic duels, men’s doubles was concluded following an unfortunate injury.

In women’s singles, Tai Tzu Ying came up with the goods to win her first title of the year. The current world number two beat her conqueror in Tokyo in style. She played an impeccable opening game, forcing Gillian Clarke to admit that “there are few players who can even touch Tai Tzu Ying when she’s playing like that”!

Chen Yufei benefitted from Tai’s infamous walkabout, the primary reason for her Olympic loss, in the second game. Though the Chinese Taipei ace managed to reduce the deficit to 17-16, it went to the decider. Again, Tai was on top of things with millimetre-perfect smashes down the line. A remarkable cross-court lift to defend Yufei’s overhead cross smash decisively turned the momentum in the top seed’s favour. 

Playing at an incredibly high pace all the way to frustrate uncharacteristic errors out of Chen Yufei, she won 21-15, 17-21, 21-12. 

Heartbreak for the Thais
The home favourites Dechapol Puavaranukroh/ Sapsiree Taerattanachai gave it their all, but it was not enough to overturn the tactical masterclass by once-upon-a-time all-conquering Zheng Siwei/ Huang Yaqiong. Fuelled by their confidence-boosting win over the Japanese pair yesterday, the current world number two pair outclassed the Thais in the opener.

Moreover, Siwei’s powerful attack could breach the Thai fortress. The world champions’ gamble to have Puavaranukroh play more at the net did help, but not near enough to give them an upper hand. Indeed, it’s a delight for fans all over the world to have the Chinese combination back in the foray. Today, they won 21-12, 18-21, 21-14.

Two close affairs
The men’s singles category also featured a Chinese player. The qualifier Li Shifeng was up against the overwhelming favourite Lee Zii Jia. While the youngster had benefitted from the withdrawals of Viktor Axelsen and Kidambi Srikanth, he showed all the qualities of a future star today. Leading 11-4 at the change of ends, Shifeng was a little reckless and allowed a nervous Lee to bounce back into the match. He ended up losing 17-21, 21-11, 23-21. 

Elsewhere, Nami Matsuyama/ Chiharu Shida picked up their second tournament trophy in 2022. The All England champions outlasted their compatriots Mayu Matsumoto/ Wakana Nagahara, saving four match points on the way. Having lost all the four previous encounters to their seniors, the younger Japanese pair had their first victory. They came back from a game down to win 17-21, 21-15, 26-24.

An unfortunate end
The Indonesian pair of Fajar Alfian/ Muhammad Rian Ardianto had to forfeit the men’s doubles final just nine minutes into the match. Alfian looked uncomfortable from the start and could not carry on due to injury. Takuro Hoki/ Yugo Kobayashi consequently won the title. The Japanese were leading 13-4 at the unfortunate conclusion of the encounter.


 
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