Sports

World No. 1 Tai digs deep to win All-England opener

The world's top-ranked women's shuttler Tai Tzu-ying overcame an early wobble to reach the second round of the All-England Open in Birmingham yesterday.

The World Super Series champion from Taiwan came from 18-16 down in the first game against Nitchaon Jindapol to record a 21-16, 21-14 win over the world No. 16 from Thailand.

Tai has yet to win a title in European conditions, although she won notable events in Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Dubai last year. But the way she adapted to cooler conditions augured well for her chances for a first All-England title.

"I made a few mistakes," Tai said after her match.

"But I tried to get more control. I improved and I want to improve some more."

Her disguise and creativity also began to blossom in the second game, in which she built leads of 11-4 and 14-7.

She eventually finished in a more relaxed vein, perhaps giving her more confidence ahead of a second-round match with Minatsu Mitani, the world No. 28 from Japan.

China's new young hope He Bingjiao joined Tai in the second round, where she could meet Olympic champion Carolina Marin. The Chinese had to save two game-points in the second game of a 21-12, 22-20 success against Kim Hyo Min, the South Korean world No. 48.

In the men's draw, seventh seed Tian Houwei overcame Indonesia's Asian champion Tommy Sugiarto 21-19, 21-18.

Fourth seed Son Wan Ho of South Korea retired with an unspecified injury early in his first-round match against Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Singapore's men's doubles pairs - Danny Chrisnanta/Hendra Wijaya and Terry Hee/Loh Kean Hean - failed to get past the qualifiers to advance to the main draw.

The Republic's mixed doubles pair of Hee and Tan Wei Han were scheduled to take on English duo Chris and Gabrielle Adcock this morning (Singapore time) in the first round.

In another match, Liang Xiaoyu took on Japan's seventh seed Akane Yamaguchi in the first round of the women's singles. - WIRE SERVICES

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