Rediff.com  » Sports » Chen Yufei upsets Tai Tzu for women's badminton gold

Chen Yufei upsets Tai Tzu for women's badminton gold

Last updated on: August 01, 2021 21:30 IST
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Axelsen ends Cordon's run, meets Chen in men's final.

Gold medallist Chen Yufei of China, silver medallist Tai Tzu-Ying of Taiwan and bronze medallist P V Sindhu of India pose with their medals won from the women's singles badminton at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.

IMAGE: Gold medallist Chen Yufei of China, silver medallist Tai Tzu-Ying of Taiwan and bronze medallist P V Sindhu of India pose with their medals won from the women's singles badminton at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

China's world No. 2 Chen Yufei got the better of world No. 1 Tai Tzu-Ying of Taiwan on Sunday to win the women's singles title and give her country its second badminton gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. 

 

Yufei prevailed 21-18, 19-21, 21-18 with well-angled smashes, clever feints and a feather-light net-game.

The match, full of hypnotic rallies, came close several times, keeping onlookers on the edge of their seats.

"I imagined getting the gold medal and this was very hard," said a breathless Chen Yufei, 23, adding that she couldn't remember the last shot of the match.

Fans of Tai around the world have desperately wanted her to win a gold at the Olympics, having watched her take down some of the best for years but not medaling at the Games.

She has hinted in the past that she may retire after Tokyo despite being only 27.

"I've been playing badminton for half my life so I'm just thinking about the rest," Tai said.

India's P V Sindhu followed up her silver from 2016 with a women's badminton singles bronze earlier on Sunday, paying tribute to her fans after beating China's He Bing Jiao 21-13, 21-15.

"A medal for the country, and at the Olympics is not so easy," an emotional Sindhu said after the nearly hour-long match.

"A lot of Indian fans showed me that love and support and I'm very, very thankful to each one of them."

Axelsen ends Cordon's run, meets Chen in men's final

Denmark's Viktor Axelsen in action against Guatemala's Kevin Cordon during the Olympics men's singles badminton semi-final

IMAGE: Denmark's Viktor Axelsen in action against Guatemala's Kevin Cordon during the Olympics men's singles badminton semi-final, at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, Tokyo, on Sunday. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Pool/Reuters

Kevin Cordon's fairytale run in the Tokyo Olympics men's singles came to an end on Sunday when the Guatemalan was knocked out 21-18, 21-11 by world number two Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.

China's Chen Long, the champion from the 2016 Rio Games, also advanced to the final after beating Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-16, 21-11.

While Axelsen was one of the favourites for gold coming into the Games, the 34-year-old Cordon is ranked 59th in the world and has won plaudits for smashing his way to a surprise semi-final spot.

Axelsen said playing such an underdog meant the pressure was all on him.

"Everybody who has a little bit of badminton knowledge could see that this was really tense and not that pretty of a game," Axelsen said. "I don't think you can find a match where there was more pressure on me than this one.

"I'm more relaxed with a silver medal secured, and now I'm going for gold."

Steen Pedersen, a former coach of the Danish national team, said Cordon had faced an entirely different level of player in Axelsen.

"Kevin has done extremely well but he was up against a different level of player," he said. "Viktor has spent almost no energy in previous matches - he's played very well, he's played clinically."

Chen said he hoped to bring his best badminton to Monday's final.

"I hope to be able to express the best of myself tomorrow," Chen said. "There's no going back. I need to make sure I take each opportunity I can and do my best."

While Ginting was disappointed not to be going for gold, he was determined not to come away with nothing.

"It is what it is, there will be a winner and loser. But I have to move on as soon as possible because tomorrow I still have one more medal, the last medal," said Ginting, who walked off the court to resounding cheers from team mates at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza.

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Source: REUTERS
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