Marin’s Sensational Comeback is Complete – China Open: Finals

Carolina Marin achieved one of the greatest comebacks in badminton – and perhaps all sport – defending her China Open crown nearly eight months after suffering a career-threatening injury.

The Olympic champion, who suffered an ACL injury in the final of the Indonesia Masters in January, pulled off a stunning turnaround this week in Changzhou, defeating world No.4 Tai Tzu Ying 14-21 21-17 21-18.

An emotional victory for the Spaniard.

Considering she hadn’t beaten Tai in their six previous matches – her last win being in December 2015 – Marin, who was unseeded at the VICTOR China Open 2019, appears to have returned from her injury layoff even better than her previous self.

As with her last two matches, Marin took time to get going. Tai was her aggressive best and controlled the exchanges, with her range of loopy drops opening up spaces that she expertly exploited.

The complexion of the game changed as the match wore on, with Marin playing a high pace and barely making any errors. The Spaniard kept pressing even with Tai playing the deep corners; her great pace and follow-up shots at the front meant that the world No.4 was constantly under pressure.

There was just no let-up in the decider as well. While Marin kept up her scorching pace, Tai let herself down with her inconsistency, alternating between brilliant one moment and wayward the next. Her best phase would come too late.

Marin led 19-13 and Tai stitched up a four-point sequence, threatening to take the match away from her. But the Spaniard didn’t let the match slip her grasp, and a Tai shot that went wide sealed a victory that will be regarded as the comeback to outdo all other comebacks.

The champion said it was “unbelievable” that she had come back so strongly from her injury.

“I cannot describe my feelings right now because I’m so happy,” said Marin.

“There was some frustration with myself in the first game. I tried to keep calm. I had to be patient and find the good length on the shuttle. But the most important thing is I could fight until the end. I just waited until she made mistakes. I just wanted to play some long rallies because I knew this match was going to be really tough. She has good strokes, she has so much deception that I had to be careful.”

Tai rued her own errors while acknowledging that Marin had played better than her.

“The wind was coming from a different direction compared to the past few days. I made quick adjustments at the start of the match but towards the end, she played at a very fast pace. I also made many unforced errors. But I have to admit that she played very well today,” said the world No.4.

Asked if Marin was playing differently compared to before her injury layoff, Tai said: “I think there’s not much difference, she is still very fast. I also feel that she is more skillful now. I also noticed that she maintained her speed in every match. She is much better at the net and has more variety of shots.

“I feel that my form is up and down, I try not to think about it too much. My only focus is to stay healthy and to maintain my game form.”


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