Tai Trips Marin’s Summit Ascent

The season finale remained tantalisingly out of reach for Carolina Marin, the Spaniard once again denied the year’s biggest prize by Tai Tzu Ying.

Twice Marin has been there in the title round of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals, within reach of the only major title to elude her, and twice she has been stopped by an inspired spell of play. On Sunday Marin couldn’t hide her disappointment after Tai Tzu Ying summitted the mountaintop after being on shaky ground for much of the final.

Tai’s monumental semifinal win over An Se Young, which she won after trailing 10-19, appeared to have cost her dearly in energy, and through the early passage of play she looked listless. Marin was all bustle and attacking drive; Tai missed routine shots and it looked like the title was there for the taking for the Spaniard.

Something changed after the interval in the second. Tai revealed later that she’d just fed off the energy of the crowd chanting her name; the effect was dramatic, for she came out with greater intent and the complexion of the match shifted. With each winning point the spark returned, and so did the unveiling of the conjuror’s tricks that kept Marin constantly on edge.

The Spaniard, true to type, shook off the loss of the second and stayed strong in the third, but after 12-all it suddenly slipped away. A last charge took her close, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think I showed a great performance in the first game and until the interval in the second game,” said Marin. “I wanted to show her if she wants to beat me she has to fight hard. But suddenly I made many mistakes.

“I’m very disappointed, but I’m also very proud because it’s been a tough year for me, with ups and downs. I think I’m in the right way to keep improving. When I came here I didn’t have any goals and suddenly I just reached the final and I tried to fight until the end. I made some mistakes in the end, but well, I want to go back home to my family.

“I have to be proud of myself because I played many good games. I fought really really hard yesterday and I was a bit tired but that’s how it is.”

Carolina Marin

Tai admitted it was all going downhill until she’d lifted herself after the interval in the second game.

“I thought I was going to lose in the second game, but the crowd cheered me on even though I was trailing, and that gave me the energy to persevere and gave me a lot of self-belief and confidence.

“Marin is a very fast player and I was under a lot of pressure. Frankly, I couldn’t keep up with her pace, which affected my shot-making, so I felt I needed to play at a higher pace to be able to challenge her.”


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