Tai Tzu-ying sets new milestone as world No. 1

01/26/2022 12:31 PM
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Tai Tzu-ying. CNA file photo
Tai Tzu-ying. CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 26 (CNA) Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎), Taiwan's queen of badminton, has become the first women's singles player to spend 200 weeks ranked as the top player in the world, after the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings were released Tuesday.

Tai, who won the women's singles silver at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, continued to lead the world rankings with 108,800 ranking points, just ahead of world No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, who had 105,149 points.

Yamaguchi defeated Tai in the women's singles final at the most recent World Championships held in Spain last month.

The ranking points are usually points from a player's 10 best performances in the previous 52 weeks, but because of the disruption to international badminton events caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the current rankings account for the best 10 events dating back to week 14 of 2019.

Of Tai's best 10 performances, six have come since late 2020, and the other four are from 2019.

The 27-year-old Tai first powered into the top spot in December 2016 to become Taiwan's first-ever women's badminton player to secure the world No. 1 ranking.

Over the past five years, she has dropped out of the No. 1 spot four times: between April 21 and May 1, 2018, between July 30 and Sept. 23, 2019, between Oct. 28 and Nov. 12, 2019, and between Dec. 17, 2019 and March 16, 2020.

Her lowest ranking during that time was fourth in the world in September 2019.

The Taiwanese badminton sensation's 200-week reign at No. 1 is the longest-ever in women's singles, far ahead of the player with the second longest stint, Li Xuerui (李雪芮) of China, who was the top-ranked player for 123 weeks from late 2012 to mid-2015.

2021 was an excellent year for Tai, who achieved the first two podium finishes of her career at an Olympic Games or World Championships.

She also won the BWF Female Player of the Year award in December 2021 in recognition of her achievements in 2020 and 2021.

Tai's first tournament this year will likely be the German Open, held March 8-13, followed by the All England Open, held March 16-20.

Tai won the All England Open in 2017, 2018, and 2020.

(By William Yen)

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