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Taiwan's Tai loses Malaysia Masters badminton final to Thai rival

2018/01/21 20:08:37

Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎/photo courtesy of badminton photo)

Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) Taiwan's world No. 1 badminton player Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) had to settle for the silver medal Sunday in the women's singles final of the 2018 Malaysian Masters after losing to Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in three sets.

The 23-year-old top-seeded Tai met her defeat with a score of 16-21, 21-14, 22-24, playing with an injured big toe.

Soon after the match kicked off, the two aces got into a fierce battle that saw the scoreboard seesawing until they came to 16-16. After that, though, Tai lost five consecutive points to lose to the world fifth-ranked Ratchanok 16-21 in the first set.

Tai changed her approach as the second set opened. With strong straight smashes, Tai took the lead with a score of 20-12 at one point before conceding a mere two points to her opponent before the set ended at 21-14.

However, right before the final set started, Tai took off her shoes and socks on the sideline to receive urgent medical treatment for an apparently injured right big toe. After having the wound treated, she returned to the court.

The tussle remained intense, with Tai at first losing four points to Ratchanok, but she managed to come back, with the score eventually tied at 19-19.

In the crucial moment, however, Tai at one point had two championship points but failed to keep them. Errors then lost her two points and also her first international tournament of the season.

It marked Tai's 11th loss to her longtime Thai rival in the 20 matches they have played together.

(By Long Po-an and Elizabeth Hsu)