In what was their first meeting, the Vietnamese showed no sign of being intimidated by the higher-ranked Marin, and kept her nerve at tense moments, showing great defensive abilities to thwart Marin’s attack. She fought off a 9-13 deficit in the third and it was level pegging at 15-all, after which Marin suddenly appeared to lose the plot and Nguyen came away victorious with the last six points in succession: 10-21 21-19 21-15. The win will count as the biggest of her career, although she has beaten other top players like Michelle Li and Gregoria Mariska Tunjung this year.
“I just wanted to try my best and I knew she would attack a lot, so I had to defend and be patient and follow her speed,” said the Vietnamese.
“I never thought I could beat her, I thought I’d try my best when I’m on court. I want to thank everyone who helped me. I will try my best for every match.”
Marin acknowledged that she’d been beaten by the better player.
“Really frustrated that I could not control myself. Disappointed, of course. I think she played much better than me, she didn’t make many mistakes. She fought for every point. She was very constant in the game and I wasn’t feeling very good.”
There were no surprises elsewhere in the women’s singles draw, with seeds like An Se Young, Chen Yu Fei and He Bing Jiao progressing.
Among the big matches in men’s singles was the clash between world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn and Kidambi Srikanth. Vitidsarn, still seeking to get into his best physical shape, was stretched to three games by Kidambi: 21-15 14-21 21-13.
“It was very difficult today, I was feeling the pressure and he was playing well,” said Vitidsarn.
“I need to start from zero again, and I need to learn about other top players. For a long time I haven’t played so I was feeling the pressure. I’m still working on myself, and I don’t feel fully fit, and I need to try my best.”