All England: Tai in Fourth Straight Final

Known for her inventive strokeplay, it was Tai Tzu Ying’s turn to surprise Carolina Marin with her defensive skills as the two-time champion entered her fourth straight final at the YONEX All England.

Marin, the 2015 champion, got it right in the opening game, but in the face of sparkling defence by her opponent and her own inconsistency in controlling the shuttle, lost the plot in the next two.

Marin bludgeoned her way to a quick opening game win, but struggled with her precision as the match wore on. Compounding the problem was her opponent, who kept her under pressure with her overhead variations. The point at which the match turned was early in the third, when Marin, sensing blood, swooped in for the kill – only for her opponent to return the shuttle behind her back. That point appeared to deflate Marin, whose intensity dipped from that moment.

Talking Point

“I felt a bit of drift in the hall and I couldn’t control the shuttle and got frustrated with myself,” said Marin. “I think she was waiting a lot for my attacking shots and that’s why she played the lift and push me to the back of the court. She was cleverer than me today. She played a bit different today. We know each other well, and you need a different plan for every match. I have to plan another strategy with her next time.”

Chou In Sight of Record

Chou Tien Chen became the first Chinese Taipei men’s singles player in the final of the All England after his opponent Anders Antonsen retired due to injury. Chou was leading 17-14 when Antonsen hurt his right ankle and had to be wheeled off court. The injury was diagnosed as a grade 2 ankle strain and Antonsen was not required to be hospitalised.

“It’s sad because it was a great match,” said Chou. “But it’s also my first All England title final so there are a lot of emotions.

“I did have a little pressure but that’s good because I will then prepare myself better. Every match is a new match. My form has been sometimes low, sometimes high. I will prepare as well as I can.”

Chou thanked organisers of the All England and fans for supporting the players.

“I’m happy to win today and thanks to God and to the All England organisers, because this (virus outbreak) is a big situation and yet the people coming here to see us, so we need to show great attitude, so may God bless all the fans and the staff and coaches.”

Ellis/Smith Run Ends

Oktavianti was the standout performer as she and Jordan entered the final.

For a brief while, it looked like Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith could pull off another comeback from dire straits as they had done in the quarterfinals.

Today, against Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti, the England duo bounced back from two match points down to force a third game.

But the Indonesians weren’t ruffled. Oktavianti was in brilliant touch at the net, and she controlled the duel well enough to provide the openings for Jordan to capitalise on.

Other Results

  • There was no repeat of 2016 for Russians Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov, as their run ended in the semifinals 21-16 21-15 to Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe. Endo and then-partner Kenichi Hayakawa had fallen to Ivanov/Sozonov in the 2016 final.
  • Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota proved too strong for senior compatriots Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi in their all-Japan women’s doubles semifinal, 21-12 21-12.

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