Former world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying teed up a highly-anticipated women’s singles final against Carolina Marin with victory over local favourite Chen Yu Fei 6-21 21-13 22-20 at the VICTOR China Open 2019 on Saturday.
Tai looked out of sorts in the opening game but rebounded in the next two to reach her first final since the Singapore Open. She blamed her sluggish start on her tendency to commit too many unforced errors.
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“My control in the first game was terrible and that affected my mental game,” she said.
“I think I really need to cut down on my unforced errors. I tend to make simple errors. This is something I need to be mindful of especially during crucial points. She put a lot of pressure on me today and made it difficult for me.
“She is very familiar with my play and she was able to anticipate my shots. She was ready for everything.”
In the end, it was a battle of who could hold onto their nerve as Tai recovered from 8-14 down in the third and then saved a match point at 18-20 to eventually go on and close it out 22-20.
Chen lamented some poor play down the stretch. “I played well overall. I just lost some points here and there. For instance, at 20-19 up I was not sharp enough and wasn’t prepared for her return. I was indecisive,” she said.
It will be the 12th meeting between Tai and Marin, and their first since the Hong Kong Open final almost a year ago. The head-to-head reads seven to four in favour of Tai.
Tai indicated how impressed she has been by Marin’s amazing return.
“I’ve watched some of her matches on TV. I feel that she’s really incredible that she can maintain her standard of play after such a long layoff. It’s never easy to return to competition after an injury.”
Match of the Session
China’s women’s doubles pairing of Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan slugged it out over 81 minutes in defeating spirited Korean pair Chang Ye Na/Kim Hye Rin 21-13 23-25 21-16 to advance to their fourth final of 2019.
The Chinese led 18-13 and held four match points in the second but could not close it out as the Koreans pushed it to a third.
“When we were leading in the second game, I was too anxious and didn’t focus on our strategy,” said Jia. “I was too engrossed on the final result and didn’t pay attention to the rallies and our game plan. In the third game, we reminded ourselves to grab hold of the opportunity and to focus on every point.”
“It’s not a given,” added Chen. “We can lose even if the scoreline is 20 something. Of course, the chance of winning is higher. We didn’t win that game so we fought on to the third.”
It will be the third time the Chinese pairs meet in a final in 2019 and second at a Super 1000 event after the Indonesia Open in July. Zheng and Huang remarkably lead the head-to-head 9-1.