Taiwanese badminton star Tai Tzu-ying yesterday returned to international competition after an eight-month break with a victory at the Yonex Thailand Open in Bangkok.
Twenty-six-year-old Tai, 26, the top-seeded player at the tournament, met 18-year-old Thai player Benyapa Aimsaard in the opening round and narrowly won 21-18, 26-24.
Her previous tournament was the Yonex All England Open in March last year, where she won the women’s singles title, before the BWF World Tour was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Benyapa was a last-minute replacement after another Thai player pulled out of the event.
It was a rollercoaster match for Tai. She led the first game 18-13 before her opponent scored five straight points to pull even, but she rallied to clinch the game by rolling off the next three points.
The world No. 1 struggled to put away her Thai opponent in the second game. She had to save a game point, and needed six game points of her own before taking the match.
Although there are no Chinese in the draw, there are still several top-ranked players competing who could test Tai, including her next opponent, Kim Ga-eun of South Korea, who is ranked No. 17.
Four other Taiwanese are scheduled to compete today.
In the men’s singles, Chou Tien-chen and Wang Tzu-wei are set to meet Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand and Brice Leverdez of France respectively.
Meanwhile, sixth-seeded pair Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin are to take on non-seeded Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark in the men’s doubles.
Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal yesterday tested positive for COVID-19 at the Thailand Open, as officials rushed to contain a potential outbreak.
Nehwal, who was receiving medical treatment at a Bangkok hospital, was one of four players to test positive, the BWF said.
However, specimens from the three other players — India’s H.S. Prannoy and an unnamed Egyptian and German — later tested negative after they were re-examined. They were to be tested again yesterday.
Nehwal, a former world No. 1 and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, wrote on Twitter that she was told to go to hospital “just before” her opening match.
Her husband, men’s singles competitor Parupalli Kashyap, has gone into hotel isolation.
“The entire Indian team has been categorized high-risk by Thai health authorities and all players and their entourage are self-quarantining in their rooms at the hotel,” the Badminton Association of India said in a statement.
The association said that despite being considered “high-risk,” other Indian players were still allowed to play their matches yesterday.
In further bad news for India, Rio de Janeiro Olympics silver medalist P.V. Sindhu was a high-profile casualty on day one as she lost to Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, 21-16, 24-26, 13-21.
HATS OFF: After Sinner became the first man to beat the Serbian in a singles match at the Davis Cup since 2011, Djokovic said all he could do was congratulate his opponent A “proud” Jannik Sinner on Saturday beat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic twice in one day to send Italy into the Davis Cup final with a 2-1 win over Serbia in Malaga. Italy, who won the trophy for the first and only time in 1976, was yesterday to face 28-time winners Australia. Sinner, who has triumphed three times in four clashes across 11 days against the usually unstoppable Djokovic, crucially kept Italy in the tie by beating the 24-time Grand Slam winner 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in the second singles rubber. Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego then defeated Djokovic and Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-4 in
League of Legends (LoL) e-sports clubs in Taiwan are next year to face tougher competition to secure spots in top international tournaments as Riot Games, the game’s developer, is attempting to bolster the weakening e-sports ecosystem in much of Southeast Asia. In a statement on Monday, Riot announced a new upgrade to the Pacific Championship Series (PCS) — a professional league comprising League of Legends clubs in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asian countries except Vietnam — to create a more competitive and sustainable ecosystem. It plans to add the top three League of Legends Japan League (LJL) contenders to the
David Benavidez on Saturday retained the interim world super middleweight belt by stopping Demetrius Andrade after the sixth round, while in Ireland, Katie Taylor avenged her only professional loss by beating Chantelle Cameron in a majority decision to become a two-weight undisputed champion. In what was billed as clash of styles that could go the distance between unbeaten 168-pounders (76.2kg), Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) looked more like a clinician with a dominating performance before Andrade’s corner requested the stoppage after the sixth round in Las Vegas. Andrade (32-1) suffered the first loss of his career. Benavidez is widely recognized as the world’s best
AC Milan starlet Francesco Camarda on Saturday made history after becoming the youngest player to compete in Serie A during their 1-0 win over ACF Fiorentina. Attacker Camarda took to the field in the 83rd minute at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza aged 15 years, eight months and 15 days, replacing Luka Jovic. “He’s got a lot of talent and intelligence, he knows that he needs to work harder than everyone else,” Milan captain Davide Calabria said after the match. Camarda, who made headlines when he scored a bicycle kick against Paris Saint-Germain in the UFA Youth League, had little to do as Milan largely