KUALA LUMPUR: Women’s world No. 1 Li Xuerui has recovered from a bout of allergies she picked up during the Denmark Open in October and is ready to defend her Super Series Finals title.
The Olympic champion from China fell ill in Denmark and conceded a walkover to team-mate Wang Shixian, and subsequently withdrew from the French Open.
The bubbly 22-year-old however stormed back to win the China Open in November and has managed to keep that momentum going since then.
On Wednesday, Xuerui was simply on fire as she thrashed South Korea’s Bae Yeon-ju 21-9, 21-7 in just 26 minutes in their Group B match.
“I had good preparations for this tournament but I really did not expect to win so easily,” said the Chongqing native.
“I’ll still need to stay focused because everyone here will be strong … hopefully my next two group matches will be just as easy, too.
“As for what happened in Denmark, I think I was probably bitten by bugs after sleeping on the floor in my hotel room.
“I was feeling very weak then and after two matches I could no longer play and had to return home to recover.
“Right now, I’m fully recovered … except for a few scars from the allergies. Hopefully it will not affect my chances of finding a husband one day,” joked Xuerui.
Meanwhile, Shixian who is the top qualifier for the Finals was given a hard time by Malaysian Open champion Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan.
The 23-year-old from Suzhou battled for 51 minutes before registering a 21-16, 23-21 win in Group A.
The other Group A match saw lanky South Korea’s Sung Ji-hyun coming up tops against Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk.
The world No. 5 won 21-19, 8-21, 21-16 in 53 minutes.
There was also a win for China’s Ma Jin-Tang Jinhua in the women’s doubles after the pair thrashed Indonesia’s Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth-Rizki Amelia Pradipta 21-3, 22-20 in Group A.