Things are looking up for Thuy Linh Nguyen, quite literally.
The Vietnamese was occupying spot No.60 on the BWF World Rankings not too long ago in August but strong results at lower-tier tournaments have sent her shooting up to a career-high No.26.
Being among the top 32 women’s singles players guarantees the 25-year-old automatic entry into the biggest tournaments on the HBSC BWF World Tour and Nguyen is keen to make best use of the opportunity.
“I have to play more World Tour events, I’m not young anymore,” a giggling Nguyen said after the 26-24 17-21 21-8 YONEX US Open 2023 second round win over homester Iris Wang on Thursday qualified her for back-to-back World Tour quarterfinals for the first time in her career.
“I think it’s my time to shine. It was a long process as I worked hard to move up the ladder. Now that my ranking is better, I must grab the chance to play at the important tournaments. That’s where you get to compete against the world’s best. The more you play better shuttlers, the faster you progress. And of course, the massive ranking points are a bonus.”
Since her second round defeat to An Se Young at the World Championships in August, Nguyen has won the Belgian International, Vietnam Open, Vietnam International Series and Vietnam International Challenge and finished runner-up at Bendigo International and Thailand International Challenge. The US Open is only her third World Tour event this season, having returned at the Taipei Open last month.
The quarterfinal in Council Bluffs would be her first meeting with Thai star Ratchanok Intanon. It also means for the second week running, her last eight opponent is the tournament top seed, having lost to eventual champion Akane Yamaguchi at the Canada Open last Friday.
“No doubt I want to win but I also see this as a chance to learn and improve myself. You always do against the top players. I will give everything to get a result,” said Nguyen, whose interim target is to end the year in the world top 20.
“It will bring me closer to the Paris 2024 Olympics. I’m also focused on doing well at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September.”
Nguyen has already featured at the Olympics once at Tokyo 2020, where she won two matches to finish Group P runner-up to eventual silver medallist Tai Tzu Ying. At her Asian Games debut in Jakarta five years ago, she lost to He Bing Jiao in the opening round.
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