Sports

Tai goes from brink of defeat to stunning victory

World No. 1 women's shuttler saves 5 match-points against Yamaguchi in nail-biting semi-final

Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying battled back from the brink of defeat to stun Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in a three-game thriller on Saturday to book a spot in the women’s singles final of the Singapore Badminton Open.

The world No. 1 showed patience and resolve in abundance as she saved five match-points before securing a 15-21, 24-22, 21-19 victory at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in a rematch of last week’s Malaysia Open final, which Tai also won.

“It helped that I am familiar with her game. I felt relaxed towards the end of the match as Yamaguchi started to make more mistakes,” Tai said.

The unflappable Tai will meet another Japanese player in the final on Sunday after Nozomi Okuhara enjoyed a much more routine victory, the second seed easing past India’s PV Sindhu 21-7, 21-11 in just 37 minutes.

The men's singles final will be contested between world No. 1 Kento Momota and seventh seed Anthony Ginting, who continued his giant-killing act yesterday.

The 22-year-old Indonesian used his leaping smash to devastating effect to knock out defending champion Chou Tien-chen 21-17, 18-21, 21-14.

The athletic Ginting caused a major upset against double world champion Chen Long on Friday, and backed it up with another brilliant display on Saturday.

A contest of contrasting styles saw Ginting employ an aggressive attacking approach as Taiwan’s Chou was content to defend and counter when opportunities arose.

After splitting the first two games, Ginting sent Chou sprawling around the court with a series of booming smashes to surge seven points clear in the decider, going on to complete victory with a smart lob beyond his opponent.

“Yes, I have enjoyed two good wins in as many days, but now my focus is on recovering for tomorrow’s final,” the world No. 9 told reporters.

Ginting will need to deliver another shock on Sunday after Kento Momota displayed his credentials as world No. 1 with a 21-15, 21-18 victory over third seed Viktor Axelsen in the other semi-final.

Momota eased through the opener but was buried by a barrage of crosscourt smashes to trail 16-6 in the second, before the left-hander rallied for victory in 46 minutes. – AFP

Singapore Badminton OpenTai Tzu-yingAkane Yamaguchi