Sports

It's Tai's title again

World No. 1 shuttler clinches Singapore Open crown by defeating Japan's Okuhara

World No. 1 shuttler Tai Tzu-ying clinched the women's singles title of the Singapore Badminton Open, after defeating second seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-19, 21-15 on Sunday.

In front of a vociferous crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the 24-year-old Taiwanese was in control from the start and led 13-8 in the first game.

Okuhara, also 24, was not about to give up without a fight, levelling the score at 18-18 as their long rallies kept spectators enthralled.

But Tai, who won the Singapore Open in 2017, kept her cool and closed out the first game.

She stepped up a gear in the second game, bamboozling her opponent with a mix of smashes and well-placed shots to clinch the title and US$26,625 (S$36,000) prize money.

Tai, who saved five match-points in the semi-final against Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi on Saturday, said after the match: “(Okuhara) plays more offensively and she’s not an easy opponent to play against.

“I know she can run, so I was mentally prepared to run a lot today since I also had a long match yesterday."

Okuhara, the 2017 world champion, said: “She’s very speedy and skilled, so I had to be careful. I made a lot of easy mistakes, so I couldn’t win today.

“I put pressure on myself and I was thinking too much.”

Tai Tzu-yingSingapore Badminton OpenNozomi Okuhara