BANGKOK (AFP) – Fifth seed and former world No. 1 Carolina Marin breezed into the final of badminton’s Toyota Thailand Open on Saturday (Jan 23), beating South Korean teenager An Se-young 21-19, 21-15.
The 27-year-old Spaniard, ranked sixth in the world, is aiming for back-to-back titles in this week’s tournament – the second of three consecutive events in Bangkok that culminate in next week’s World Tour Finals.
She came out on top last week against top-seeded Tai Tzu-ying in the Yonex Thailand Open and will meet the same opponent once more, after continuing her winning streak by maintaining her signature aggressive play against seventh-seeded An.
Marin spoke of the mental battle of motivating herself just days after being victorious.
“Sometimes it’s tough for the mindset when you win a tournament just three days ago and you have to start a tournament all over again,” the reigning Olympic champion said after the match.
The pair had already duelled in last week’s tournament, also in the semi-finals, with the more experienced Marin winning in a quick 21-18, 21-16 match.
In the second semi-final, Chinese Taipei world No. 1 Tai came from behind to beat Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon 12-21, 21-12, 23-21.
An, an 18-year-old who was named “Most Promising Player” in 2019, was downcast after the defeat.
“I tried to respond to her smashes and tried everything,” said the teenager.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t go quite so well, so I’m a little disappointed.”
Marin’s signature yelps after each match point reverberated around the spectatorless stadium – a coronavirus precaution taken by Thailand as part of its biosecure “bubble” to accommodate players who flew in from across the world.
Despite the efforts of tournament officials, four positive cases have been detected so far, forcing an Indian player and an Egyptian player to withdraw.
In the men’s singles, veteran Hans-Kristian Vittinghus beat third seed Anders Antonsen 21-19, 21-8 in an all-Danish affair and he will face either compatriot Viktor Axelsen or Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien-chen in the final.
The women’s doubles final will be an all-South Korean affair, with third seeds Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan meeting fourth seeds Kim So-yeong and Kong Hee-yong.
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