Ratchanok Intanon wins epic battle with Tai Tzu Ying to clinch Malaysia Masters title

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Ratchanok Intanon stuns Tai Tzu Ying to win the 2018 Malaysia Masters title. (photo: AP)
Ratchanok Intanon stuns Tai Tzu Ying to win the 2018 Malaysia Masters title. (photo: AP)

Kuala Lumpur: In front of an adoring crown at Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur Sports City, the 22-year-old and No. 5 seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand came through three gruelling sets to beat No. 1 seed Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan.

In a rollercoaster first set, Intanon trailed Tai 5-9 early in the game before cooly swept away the No. 1 seed of Taiwan 21-16 after the score was tied at 16-16.

Ratchanok Intanon thanks the crowd after the women's singles final. (photo: AP)
Ratchanok Intanon thanks the crowd after the women’s singles final. (photo: AP)

Bringing both touch and firepower, Tai played some of her best badminton to quickly opened up a big 20-12 gap to win the second set 21-14 and to force a decider.

The third-set was a seesaw battle of Intanon and Tai as the score was tied 12 times. At 22-22, Intanon unleashed a smash towards Tai’s body to hold for a 23-22 advantage before sinking to her knees in celebration after Tai’s drop found the net allowing the Thai player to seal the decider 24-22.

Congratulations to Ratchanok Intanon for winning the 2018 Malaysia Masters title! (photo: AP)
Congratulations to Ratchanok Intanon for winning the 2018 Malaysia Masters title! (photo: AP)

“The wind was strong in the stadium, it’s a little difficult to control the shuttlecocks,” said Intanon.

“I played more patiently than Tai today, especially when the score was tied. I was relaxed, and didn’t think too much about winning. Because I would lose focus if I kept thinking about winning,” added Intanon.

Ratchanok Intanon kisses the Malaysia Masters medal. (photo: AP)
Ratchanok Intanon kisses the Malaysia Masters medal. (photo: AP)

“I am dissapointed, I probably can do better than this. I will be playing at Indonesia Masters next week, and I didn’t set any targets for that,” said Tai.

“Playing too many tournaments will take a toll on the body, therefore, I am going to have to take it easy and play with no pressure,” added Tai.

Ratchanok Intanon received US$26,250 money prize for her victory and she will next play the Indonesia Masters which starts on Tuesday then India Open the following week.

Meanwhile, the left-handed pair from Hong Kong and No. 2 seeds Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet gained control of the net to outlast No. 5 seeds Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong 19-21, 22-20, 21-18 in the mixed doubles final.

In women’s doubles, No. 3 seeds and Rio Olympic silver medalists Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Christinna Pedersen of Denmark left badminton powerhouse – China empty handed by lifting the Malaysia Masters crown after overcoming No. 1 seeds Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan of China 22-20, 21-18 in 52 minutes.

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