The astonishing backhand of Tai Tzu Ying cut its way through Saina Nehwal’s defences and helped her enter the title round of the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals today.
Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei’s dream season continued as they gave themselves a chance to claim another major title this year. The Chinese Mixed Doubles pair were too strong for England’s Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock: 21-9 21-12.
With strokes scarcely seen in contemporary badminton, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying left Nehwal bereft of ideas in a 11-21 21-13 21-9 come-from-behind victory in the Women’s Singles semi-finals. With Nehwal starting at a scorching pace, Tai struggled to rein her in. The Indian took off to a 4-0 lead in the second, and that’s when Tai’s magic started to cast its spell. With a variety of delayed flicks, holding shots, drives and drops, Tai started to create large spaces that Nehwal could not contain.
Tai’s victory was studded with several gems — at one point she even jump-smashed a backhand when caught off-position after dragging Nehwal all around the court. A deft backhand drive played with her back to the net was just as sensational; the shuttle travelled through an acute angle past a flummoxed Nehwal and landed on the line.
“I could not control the shuttle in the beginning as the wind was behind me and my clears were landing out,” said Tai. “I started to find my rhythm in the second. I would regard my form today as normal. Maybe I can give myself eight out of ten. I played her when I was starting out in badminton; I have learnt a lot from players like her. She is very powerful and had support from the spectators here. But I like playing in front of a big audience; it doesn’t matter if they back me or not.” Nehwal conceded that she was outplayed. “The crowd was again fully behind me but overall I was a bit down. This does not take away any credit from Tai who can return and attack at unexpected moments. It’s one of those days when stroke making is a challenge by itself and I felt a little tired today despite a comfortable first set.”
Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi won a marathon match against China’s Luo Ying/Luo Yu. The Japanese were stretched for 98 minutes before clinching a place in the final: 21-14 13-21 21-14. The match featured lengthy rallies – one lasted 148 shots – before Matsutomo and Takahashi edged past. “We just had to keep our concentration as it was a long match,” said Takahashi. “After losing the first game we changed our basic style. By the third game we were quite relaxed and that helped us in the tense situations.”
For today’s results, click here.