Crowd-favourite Tzu-ying on track for third Asian championships gold

Indian star PV Sindhu's campaign ends, but Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy entered men's doubles semifinals

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei in action against China’s He Bing Jiao in Dubai on Friday. — UAE Badminton Federation
Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei in action against China’s He Bing Jiao in Dubai on Friday. — UAE Badminton Federation

Published: Sat 29 Apr 2023, 2:25 AM

At 28, Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei is racing against time to avoid becoming the Lee Cheng Wei of women’s badminton.

The Malaysian, one of the greatest players to have picked up a badminton racquet, retired from the game without winning any of the two biggest events, the Olympic gold and the world championship title.


Just like Wei, Tzu-ying has failed to win the gold at the worlds and the Olympics despite her bewitching talent.

But she remains on track to win her third Asian Championships gold after her stirring fightback against China’s He Bing Jiao in a 14-21, 21-16, 21-18 victory.


Tzu-ying may not have won the two biggest events in the sport, but the beauty of her game has earned her legions of fans across the badminton-loving world.

On Friday in Dubai, even the Indian fans were cheering for her as she attempted to fight back after losing the first set.

Tzu-ying hopes her admirers will be back on Saturday to root for her in the semifinal against world number one Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.

“I was here (Dubai) in 2017 for the World Tour Finals. Even then a lot of Indian fans came to to support me,” she said.

“It’s really amazing to see this kind of support again from my Indian fans.”

But those Indian fans were later left with broken hearts after PV Sindhu lost her sixth straight match to South Korean sensation An Se-young 21-18, 5-21, 9-21.

Sindhu, who was playing only her fourth tournament after a four-month injury lay off, looked on the bright side.

“The first set was a progress I would say, in terms of my game since my return from injury,” she said.

Later, world number two Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia progressed to the semifinals in the men’s singles with a 10-21, 23-21, 26-24 win over China’s LI Shi Feng in a rip-roaring contest, sending hundreds of Indonesian fans into a state of frenzy.

Doubles joy for India

Indian doubles pair Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy stormed into the semifinals in the evening session.

Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in action. — Badminton photo
Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in action. — Badminton photo

The reigning Commonwealth Games champions stunned Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-11, 21-12.

The former world champions from Indonesia had no answers to the rising Indian stars on Friday evening.

“They are like idols. We have been following them since young age. When we took our racquets, they were already All England champions and world champions. So, we know how they play," Satwiksairaj said.

Semifinals line-up

Rashid bin Hamdan Hall in Al Nasr Club, Dubai

Saturday

Matches start at 1 pm

Men’s singles

Loh Kean Yew (Singapore) vs Lu Guang Zu (China)

Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (Indonesia) vs Kanta Tsuneyama (Japan)

Women’s singles

Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) vs Tai Tzu-ying (Chinese Taipei)

An Se-young (South Korea) vs Chen Yufei (China)ALSO READ:


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