KUALA LUMPUR: Missing the flight home from France in October proved to be a learning experience for Tai Tzu-ying.
The Taiwanese woman singles shuttler failed to catch her flight home after the French Open and was stranded for three days.
Now, the spunky teenager is determined not to miss a spot in the semi-finals of the Super Series Finals, being held at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium.
The 19-year-old Tzu-ying is certainly on the right track after scoring an impressive 21-19, 21-17 win over Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in Group A.
It was her first win over Porntip in five meetings and it certainly gives her a realistic shot at making the cut, despite losing to China’s Wang Shixian on Wednesday.
“When I was in Paris for the French Open, I stayed at my friend’s place,” said Tzu-ying.
“She told me that the train to the airport rarely breaks down. Unfortunately for me, on the day I was leaving … it broke down! I was stranded for three days and only reached home a lot later.
“That messed up my preparations because I was already feeling fatigued from the tight schedule.
“But it was a good experience for me … I also know now that I have to work on lasting through the entire year.
“Now, I have a chance to make the semi-finals here and I’m going to fight all the way.
“My parents are here with me as my coaches because the national coaches were with the other players in Macau and Vietnam … I believe it will benefit me.
“Anyway, Malaysia is a lucky venue for me since I won the Malaysian Open in January. The fans here are also very warm and it does feel like playing in front of a home crowd.”
Tzu-ying faces South Korea’s Sung Ji-hyun on Friday needing a straightforward win to make the last four.
In women’s doubles, top seeds Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi recovered from a shock loss on Wednesday to beat Indonesia’s Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth-Rizki Amelia Pradipta 21-11, 18-21, 21-15.
The other Group A match saw China’s Ma Jin-Tang Jinhua stamping their authority with a second win – downing Koreans Jang Ye-na-Kim So-young 24-22, 12-21, 21-13.
Group B action also saw Danes Christina Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl picking up their second win by beating Reika Kakiiwa-Miyuki Maeda of Japan 19-21, 21-16, 21-16.