Tai over­pow­ers Sindhu in Hong Kong Open fi­nal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

World num­ber three Tai Tzuy­ing won the women’s sin­gles at the Hong Kong Open yes­ter­day, dash­ing P.V. Sindhu’s hopes of back-to-back su­per­series ti­tles and aveng­ing her loss to the Olympic silver medal­list in Rio.

Sindhu, fresh from cap­tur­ing the China Open in Fuzhou last week, looked hes­i­tant as she struggled to match the pace of the Tai­wanese player, who un­leashed a mix of well-timed lobs and drop shots in her 2115, 21-17 vic­tory.

“It was a good game over­all, but it was her day,” said Sindhu, who down­played sug­ges­tions her win at Fuzhou had left her drained in Hong Kong. “I’ll go back and train hard.”

Tai cruised through the first game with rel­a­tive ease, re­main­ing cool as she con­trolled the con­test’s tempo and place­ment of the shut­tle­cock. Sindhu ral­lied in the sec­ond but was un­able to es­tab­lish a rhythm as Tai pulled away in the lat­ter half of the game. The 22-year-old was pa­tient dur­ing longer ral­lies, with her op­po­nent strug­gling to reach shots and keep the shut­tle­cock in play.

“I like to be easy dur­ing my matches. I don’t like to put too much pres­sure on my­self,” said Tai, who booked her ticket to the fi­nal a day ear­lier by beat­ing Rio gold medal­list Carolina Marin.

Tai’s tri­umph in the Hong Kong Open marked her sec­ond su­per­series win of the sea­son af­ter clinch­ing the In­done­sia Open ti­tle in June. She said her eyes were now firmly set on fin­ish­ing the sea­son on top at the tour fi­nal in Dubai, a tour­na­ment she won in 2014.

On the men’s side, Hong Kong’s An­gus Ng nabbed his first su­per­series ti­tle af­ter bat­tling through a tough three-game scrap with In­dia’s Sameer Verma in front of a packed house.

The home­town favourite put on an ag­gres­sive dis­play early with re­peated whip­ping over­heads and down-the-line win­ners, chalk­ing up a 21-14 win in the first game. But the 43rd ranked Verma fought back with the re­lent­less hus­tle of an un­der­dog with noth­ing to lose in the sec­ond, as Ng ap­peared to falter un­der the pres­sure.

The 14th ranked Ng later re­gained com­po­sure in the third as his op­po­nent struggled with un­forced er­rors and lengthy ral­lies at the net that saw Verma grow vis­i­bly frus­trated.

“In the third game I just for­got about what hap­pened in the sec­ond,” Ng told re­porters af­ter the 21-14, 10-21, 21-11 win. The Hong Kong na­tive rounded out his maiden su­per­series vic­tory by un­cork­ing leap­ing over­heads cou­pled with drop­shots, falling to his knees to cel­e­brate af­ter Verma whiffed the match point as thou­sands roared in ap­proval.

“When I was younger I wished I could play in the fi­nals of the Hong Kong Open in the fu­ture,” said the 22-year-old Ng.

Verma, a rel­a­tive un­known in the bad­minton world stayed hum­ble fol­low­ing his im­prob­a­ble run. “I was a lit­tle bit ner­vous,” said Verma. “I didn’t ex­pect to reach the fi­nals.” — AFP

HONG KONG: Win­ner Tai Tzu-ying of Tai­wan (R) poses with sec­ond-placed P.V. Sindhu of In­dia af­ter the women’s sin­gles fi­nal at the Hong Kong Open bad­minton tour­na­ment in Hong Kong yes­ter­day. — AFP

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