The 29-year-old secured her spot in the women’s singles final after defeating China’s Chen Yu Fei today.
KUALA LUMPUR: Reigning Olympic women’s singles silver medallist Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan is gunning for her fifth Malaysia Open title after ending a four-match losing streak to Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei of China in the semifinals today.
Tzu Ying finally came good at the fifth time of asking to beat world No 2 Yu Fei 17-21, 21-15, 21-18 at the Axiata Arena here.
Tzu Ying had previously lost to Yu Fei in the semifinals of the Malaysia Open and Malaysia Masters in July 2022; the World Championships semifinals in August 2022; and the French Open final last October but the Taiwanese shuttler has the bragging rights as she has now won 18 of their 26 encounters.
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“This time, I was more prepared because Yu Fei is a stable player and very focused. So, what I did was to focus more on my defensive play. The points were tight, so I tried to minimise my mistakes, so I was able to gain more points.”
“This will be my last Malaysia Open, so I want to do my best,” said the 29-year-old Tzu Ying, who plans to retire at the end of this season, having won the Malaysia Open crown in 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
In tomorrow’s final, Tzu Ying will be up against South Korea’s world No 1 An Se-young, who will be aiming to make amends for losing in the final last year.
Se-young, who has just recovered from a knee injury suffered in October, ended the fairytale run of China’s world No 17 Zhang Yi Man with a 21-17, 21-11 win in the other semifinal.
Yesterday, Yi Man stunned defending champion and world No 3 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 12-21, 21-17, 21-17 to move into the last four.
However, Badminton World Federation (BWF) Female Player of the Year Se-young, who clinched an impressive 11 titles in 2023, prefers to play down her chances in the final due to her recent injury.
“My condition is not 100% yet, so I was more focused on myself than the opponent today. My priority now is to regain my form rather than win this tournament.”
“Tzu Ying is a great player and it is not a surprise that she is in the final. However, it is a great challenge for me to play against shuttlers like Tzu Ying and other good players,” she said.
Having won many BWF World Tour titles in her illustrious career, including her maiden World Championship last year, Se-young has yet to win the Malaysia Open title – for now.