Kuala Lumpur: The 2012 Olympic champion and second seed Li Xuerui was expected to saunter into the Malaysia Open quarter-finals on Thursday when she faced unseeded Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan, a player she had beaten in their previous 10 encounters.
Tai Tzu Ying, however, had other plans. Tai never allowed the world number two Li Xuerui to settle into a rhythm towards the end of the decider, when she embarked on a steady climb back after trailing 4-10 to beat the Olympic champion 14-21, 21-18, 21-16 in 50 minutes.
The 21-year-old Tai will face No. 5 seed Wang Shixian in the quarterfinals on Friday.
“Li Xuerui was clearly in a hurry to finish the job, which caused her to commit a lot of unforced errors. I took advantage of that to win the match,” said Tai.
Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu also got their Thursday campaigns off to spectacular wins.
Saina Nehwal gave her fans something to cheer about, when she cruised to a 21-10 21-16 victory over South Korean Bae Yeon Ju. The third seed will face Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the next round.
P. V Sindhu however has to put in the extra efforts and extra work to edge past No. 7 seed Sung Ji Hyun 22-20, 21-17. The 20-year-old Sindhu will next meet former World Champion and two-time India Open winner Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.
Meanwhile, current women’s singles World No. 1 Carolina Marin of Spain and former World No. 1 Wang Yihan are set to collide in blockbuster quarter-finals matchup on Friday. Marin currently holds a 3-2 head-to-head record against Wang.