Following her second title of 2018 from three finals, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying returned to the top of the HSBC Race to Guangzhou rankings last week.
The Chinese Taipei superstar was runner-up at the Perodua Malaysia Masters before winning the Daihatsu Indonesia Masters later in January and the Yonex All England Open in March, giving her 29,000 points, putting her 4000 points ahead of Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, who beat her to the Malaysia crown earlier in the year.
Intanon also made the semi-finals of the Indonesia Masters and the Yonex-Sunrise Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta India Open.
Her Thai compatriot Nitchaon Jindapol profited from her early-season victory on home soil at the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters. Jindapol also had a good run at the Yonex German Open in March, reaching the semi-finals. With 23,900 points, she is in third spot, just ahead of Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi (23,620 points) who has continued from where she left off in 2017.
Yamaguchi enjoyed a stellar run both at the German Open – which she won – and at the All England. In Mulheim an der Ruhr, Yamaguchi got the better of India Open champion Beiwen Zhang (USA), compatriot Nozomi Okuhara and China’s Chen Yufei on successive days, while in Birmingham, she knocked out Spain’s Carolina Marin and India’s Pusarla V Sindhu before running into Tai Tzu Ying in the final.
Japan have a formidable presence in Women’s Singles. Nozomi Okuhara (No.11), Aya Ohori (No.15) and Sayaka Sato (No.18) will all be looking to hit peak form as the season progresses. Okuhara, who struggled with injury last season, made the semi-finals of the German Open this season, while Ohori was a quarter-finalist at the All England.
Spain’s Carolina Marin is another player who has only showed glimpses of her best. The Spaniard was a semi-finalist in Malaysia and quarter-finalist in three other events, and will be looking to sharpen her game in time for the big events on the Tour.
Young Chinese Chen Yufei has quickly come of age, and is in sixth spot. The Chinese was runner-up in Germany to Yamaguchi and semi-finalist to Tai at the All England.
One spot below her, in seventh, is India’s Pusarla V Sindhu. The lanky Indian nearly captured the India Open for a second time, but was denied in a thrilling finish by Beiwen Zhang.
Fellow-Indian Saina Nehwal has slipped a little after a first round loss at the All England. Nehwal, runner-up at the Indonesia Masters, also faltered at her home event, and could make only the last-eight. Nehwal is currently in 14th spot.
The big gainer in the latest rankings is Mia Blichfeldt. The Dane, a quarter-finalist at the All England, made it to the final of the Orleans Masters, giving her 4,680 points and pushing her up by six spots into No.8.
USA’s Zhang, who achiever her career-best result in India, is in ninth, while Blichfeldt’s compatriot Line Kjaersfeldt, quarter-finalist at the Swiss Open, is on tenth spot with 17,940 points.
Behind her are Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei, Spain’s Beatriz Corrales, Okuhara, Nehwal, Ohori, China’s He Bingjiao, Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun, Japan’s Sayaka Sato, Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi and Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po.