Tai Fights Through – World Tour Finals: Day 2

One former two-time champion teetered on the brink of elimination while another stayed alive at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2019.

Viktor Axelsen, champion of the season finale in 2016 and 2017, fell to his second defeat in men’s singles Group B against Chou Tien Chen, leaving him with a mathematical chance of progressing to the semifinals. On the other hand, Tai Tzu Ying, champion in 2014 and 2016, lived dangerously before pulling herself together against Ratchanok Intanon and throwing women’s singles Group B into an interesting situation.

Tai Tzu Ying outplayed Ratchanok Intanon.

Tai was down 10-13 in the second game and struggled to find consistency, but once she edged through the second game, Intanon was the one under pressure against the sharpness and unpredictability of Tai’s strokes, and the Chinese Taipei player broke through, 11-21 21-18 21-16.

Match of the Session

World champions Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong, who had suffered a straight-games setback yesterday, redeemed themselves in a difficult test against Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.

Zheng and Huang were given a hard time by the Indonesians. The Chinese upped their level from yesterday, when they had fallen in a shock straight-games defeat to Watanabe and Higashino, and yet, the Indonesians were able to match them for long spells in the match.

Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong.

Faizal and Widjaja were particularly effective in fending off Zheng’s ferocious attacks and converting them into openings; the second game in particular saw some great exchanges with the Indonesians saving match point to force a decider.

Faizal and Widjaja’s momentum slipped slightly in the third, allowing the Chinese to build a lead of 15-7; however, they stayed in the hunt and nearly caught up with Zheng and Huang. The 21-15 20-22 12-17 victory meant things were interestingly poised in mixed doubles Group B.

Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino posted their second win, overcoming the inconsistent Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti 21-15 18-21 21-15.

Talking Point

“Yesterday I struggled with the drift, but today I made the right adjustments and I was in better control of the shuttle. I have a good record (7-4) against Chen Long. Maybe it’s my style… I have an attacking style and I suppose he might not be comfortable with my game.” – Anthony Ginting, after beating Chen Long 21-12 21-11.

Other Results

  • The semifinalists from men’s doubles Group B were decided, with Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin and Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan completing their second wins. Lee/Wang held off Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik 22-20 21-23 21-14, while Ahsan/Setiawan had a narrow 21-10 15-21 21-19 result over Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han.
  • Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong, who won the Most Improved Player of the Year award, bounced back from their opening loss yesterday to beat Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai in straight games.
  • World champions Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara were beaten by Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan in three games, ensuring a twist in Group B.

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