On the eve of starting her title defence in Jakarta – and seeking a sixth straight Superseries victory – the dominant force in Women’s Singles, Tai Tzu Ying, has admitted she is “very surprised” at her seven-month unbeaten streak.
Speaking to media ahead of the BCA Indonesia Open 2017, the world No.1 also provided some insight into how she has become the battle-hardened star performer who is the talk of the badminton world – and perhaps the envy of her peers.
“It’s not every time that I can perform well but, when I am doing badly or my confidence is low, I try to adjust quickly and pull myself together,” she said.
“I don’t make too many demands of myself or set my expectations too high. I just keep fighting my hardest. I will try to do the same here.”
Clearly it’s a strategy that’s working for the popular Chinese Taipei athlete on the cusp of her 23rd birthday next week.
Undefeated since the THAIHOT China Open 2016 semi-finals in November – when China’s Sun Yu beat her 21-8 23-21 – Tai begins the quest to retain her Indonesia Open title versus a tricky opponent, Minatsu Mitani, The Japanese has savoured her fair share of success against higher-ranked rivals and will be aiming to do the same in the first round at Jakarta Convention Center where the tournament is being held this year due to renovations at Istora Senayan. Last year at the famed badminton venue, a steely Tai dropped just one game – versus another Japanese, Nozomi Okuhara, in the quarter-finals – en route to the Indonesian championship. She certainly earned it the hard way, cutting down China’s ‘Big Three’ – Li Xuerui, Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan in the final.
Her stiffest Superseries test this season has come from a resurgent Carolina Marin and, with the Olympic and World champion keen to upgrade from the runner-up fates she endured for three weeks in a row, fans will be eager to see what the next instalment of this simmering rivalry brings. At the far poles of the draw, Tai and Marin can only clash in the final which would be their third in this year’s five Superseries events so far.
“I am feeling very good and I will try to win here. I know it’s going to be very difficult but, if I play 100 per cent, I think I can get a good result,” said the Spaniard who will be aiming to give herself a belated birthday gift after turning 24 this Thursday.
“I am looking forward to playing here. It’s one of my favourite tournaments. I have so many fans here and I look forward to their support.”
MORE TO COME
QUALIFIERS TO THE MAIN DRAW
Men’s Singles: Zhao Junpeng (China); Emil Holst (Denmark): Chong Wei Feng (Malaysia); and Kazumasa Sakai (Japan).
Women’s Singles: Michelle Li (Canada); Natalia Koch Rohde (Denmark); Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (Indonesia); and Lee Jang Mi (Japan).
Men’s Doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty (India); Calvin Kristanto/Bagas Maulana (Indonesia); Akbar Bintang Cahyono/Giovani Dicky Oktavan (Indonesia); and Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia)/Tan Boon Heong (Malaysia).
Women’s Doubles: Agatha Imanuela/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti; Dian Fitriani/Nadya Melati; Yulfira Barkah/Meirisa Cindy Sahputri; and Serena Kani/Jauza Fadhila Sugiarto (all Indonesia).
Mixed Doubles: Liu Yuchen/Tang Jinhua (China); Irfan Fadhilah/Weni Anggraini (Indoneisa); Fachryza Abimanyu/Bunga Fitriani Romadhini (Indonesia); and Do Tuan Duc/Pham Nhu Thao (Vietnam).