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Badminton world No. 1 Tai retains Malaysia Open women’s singles title

Badminton World No.1 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan displays the spoils of victory after winning her third consecutive Malaysia Open women’s singles title April 7 in Kuala Lumpur. (Courtesy of MO2019)

Badminton World No.1 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan displays the spoils of victory after winning her third consecutive Malaysia Open women’s singles title April 7 in Kuala Lumpur. (Courtesy of MO2019)

Badminton World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan retained her women’s singles title at the Malaysia Open 2019 April 7 in Kuala Lumpur, overcoming Akane Yamaguchi of Japan to claim the champion’s purse of US$49,000.
 
The victory maintains Tai’s consecutive string of triumphs at the Badminton World Federation-sanctioned event since 2017, and brings her tourney total to four. It also represents her ninth win in 15 matchups against Yamaguchi.
 
Tai raced away in the opening game to a 6-1 lead before Yamaguchi pegged her back to 6-4. She soaked up the pressure to finish 21-16.
 
The second was not so easy. Tai fell behind Yamaguchi on nine occasions before regaining her composure to grind out a 21-19 result.
 
Tai said she was happy to have won the annual tournament first staged in 1937, adding that the crowd’s encouragement gave her a lot of confidence.
 
The title is Tai’s first of the year and positions her well for the Singapore Open kicking off April 9 in the city-state. She will start qualifications for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo toward the end of the month. (HC-E)