Tai Tzu-ying retains Malaysia Open title, plans to retire after 2020 Olympics

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Tai Tzu-ying (R) poses with Akane Yamaguchi at the Malaysia Open awards ceremony. (photo: Sadiq Asyraf/Afp/Getty Images)
Tai Tzu-ying (R) poses with Akane Yamaguchi at the Malaysia Open awards ceremony. (photo: Sadiq Asyraf/Afp/Getty Images)

Kuala Lumpur: Taiwan’s World No. 1 women’s singles player Tai Tzu-ying created history on Sunday by becoming the first female player to ever win a third consecutive and a total of four women’s singles titles at the Malaysia Open.

As usual, Tai utilized her deceptive strokes and showed a willingness to gamble on her shots that paid dividends by beating World No. 4 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-16, 21-19 in 40 minutes.

Tai raced to a quick start in the first set as she took a 6-1 lead before beating her Japanese rival 21-16.

Both were playing neck and neck in the second set as Yamaguchi was being more proactive, and was moving faster. At 19-19, Tai scoring two consecutive points to power past Yamaguchi 21-19 to clinch her third Malaysia Open title.

The No. 1 seed from Taiwan had previously advanced to the finals in 2016, 2017, 2018, but lost to Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in 2016, and took the title in 2017 and 2018. Tai also won the 2013 edition at the age of 19.

Speaking to Malaysian media, Tai also announced that she would be retiring from the sport after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. For now, she is setting her goals to win several big badminton tournaments such as World Championship and the Olympic gold.

“Although I’ve been World No. 1 for some time, I’ve not won the big tournaments yet. Therefore, I will focus all my energy on winning this year’s World Championship in Basel and the 2020 Olympic,” said Tai.

“I’ve given everything to badminton for 10 years and that’s enough for me.”

“My badminton career will be complete if I can win a medal at the Olympics but whether I win a medal or not, I’ll still retire,” added Tai.

With the exception of women’s singles, badminton powerhouse China dominated all the other events, winning the mixed doubles (Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong), women’s doubles (Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan), men’s singles (Lin Dan) the men’s doubles (Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen).

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