Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying, the world No. 1, yesterday breezed into the quarter-finals of the Yonex Thailand Open, sweeping aside South Korea’s Kim Ga-eun 21-16, 21-10 in less than half an hour.
The 26-year-old’s victory came as the BWF declared the tournament safe to continue following the latest round of COVID-19 testing.
“It has been a while since the last tournament, and this is the same for everyone, so [these first few matches] are not easy,” Tai said, after overcoming the 17th-ranked Kim.
Photo: Lin Yueh-fu, Taipei Times
“I felt better today and had less unforced errors,” she said.
Tai is seeking back-to-back titles 10 months apart after winning the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships on her last tournament appearance in March before the COVID-19 shutdown.
She next faces Canada’s eighth seed Michelle Li for a place in the semi-finals.
World No. 10 Li fought back after dropping the first game against another South Korean, Sung Ji-hyun, before prevailing 15-21, 21-15, 21-14.
In men’s singles, Wang Tzu-wei, the world No. 12 from Taiwan, fell to Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long. Although Wang managed to force a third set, he ultimately succumbed to the world No. 8 15-21, 21-15, 20-22.
Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen, the world No. 2, handily beat Shesar Hiren Rhustavito, the world No. 18 of Indonesia, 21-16, 21-19 in less than an hour.
In men’s doubles, Taiwan’s Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Thailand’s Supak Jomkoh and Kittinupong Kedren 21-14, 21-18.
The Yonex Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive tournaments played in strict biosecure conditions and behind closed doors in Bangkok, culminating in the World Tour Finals from Jan. 27.
Egyptian mixed doubles player Adham Hatem Elgamal was withdrawn on Monday and a German coach and French staff member are under hospital observation after testing positive for COVID-19 at badminton’s restart tournament.
The BWF yesterday cleared all other players to continue, with Thailand’s badminton head, Patama Leeswadtrakul, promising “to make this event a success.”
“All in the bubble are from all over the world — we haven’t expected zero cases of COVID-19,” she said.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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