Taiwan’s Tai claims KL title
Rising star Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan won her first title of the year by defeating Yao Xue of China in straight sets in the final of the women’s singles event at the Malaysia Open on Sunday. Tai, ranked 12th in the world and seeded sixth in Kuala Lumpur, needed 36 minutes to beat Yao 21-17, 21-14. The 18-year-old put together an impressive string of victories over third seed Tine Baun of Denmark, top seed Saina Nehwal of India and the up-and-coming Yao to claim the title, winning all three matches without dropping a set. Tai said she will ask her parents to hold on to the US$30,000 in prize money she earned for winning the tournament. The young player, who showed her potential in a close two-set lost to eventual gold medalist Li Xuerui of China at the London Olympics last year, credited her coach for the victory, saying that the strategy he advised her to follow was effective. Her coach, Lee Wei-jen, said she would focus on preparing for the Badminton Asia Championships in Taipei in April. The victory was the Greater Kaohsiung native’s second Super Series title of her career following her victory at the Japan Open last year.
Neureuther wins in Wengen
Felix Neureuther of Germany won the men’s World Cup slalom in Wengen, Switzerland, on Sunday in 1 minute 50.53 seconds to bring to an end a run of three successive wins for Austrian Marcel Hirscher. The 28-year-old — recording his second win of the campaign — was 0.21 seconds quicker over the two legs than overall World Cup leader Hirscher while Croatian great Ivica Kostelic was third 0.25 seconds adrift of the winner. Hirscher posted the fastest time on the first run, but Neureuther comprehensively overhauled his five-hundredths of a second advantage on the second run. At the halfway stage of the season, Hirscher is a massive 188 points ahead of Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal in the overall standings.
Rebensburg takes super-G
Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany won a shortened World Cup super-G amid heavy snowfall at Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, on Sunday, while Lindsey Vonn struggled with the difficult conditions and lost her lead in the super-G standings to Tina Maze. Rebensburg, the Olympic champion in giant slalom, clocked 1 minute, 16.45 seconds down the Olympia delle Tofane course. Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria finished second, 0.33 seconds behind, and overall leader Maze of Slovenia was third, 0.34 back. Vonn, who finished seventh, dropped four points behind Maze in the super-G standings after four of seven races. Maze increased her lead in the overall standings to a massive 718 points ahead of Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who finished 19th.
Warne fined A$5,000
Australian veteran Shane Warne was fined A$5,000 (US$5,250) yesterday for a code of behavior breach in the domestic Big Bash League, his second penalty this month, officials said. Cricket Australia said Warne was fined following a disciplinary hearing into his failure to list himself as captain during the Melbourne Stars’ semi-final against the Perth Scorchers in a bid to dodge a penalty for a slow over-rate. Warne had previously been issued with one strike for a slow over rate violation and a second strike this season would have resulted in an automatic one-match suspension. “Warne was found guilty of breaching Rule 5: Laws of Cricket and Spirit of the Game by Commissioner Arthur Lodge,” Cricket Australia said.