BWF Yonex Thailand Open: Tai Tzu Ying vs Michelle Li
World number 1, Tai Tzu Ying takes on the World number 10, Michelle Li in the quarterfinals of the Thailand Open.
The top seed, Tai Tzu Ying overcame Benyapa Aimsaard in a close opening encounter winning 21-18 26-24. She was in great touch against Kim Ga Eun in the pre-quarterfinals beating her 21-16 21-10.
On the other hand, Michelle Li began her run defeating Cheung Ngan Yi 21-17 24-22 in the first round. She ousted Word number 14, Sung Ji-Hyun 21-17 21-17 in the round of 16.
Head to Head record
Tai Tzu Ying leads the head to head record 7-2 against Michelle Li.
"It has been a while since the last tournament, and this is the same for everyone, so these first few matches are not easy, I felt better today and had less unforced errors," said Tai after her convincing victory against World number 17 Kim in just 29 minutes.
When the draw for the tournament was released, the Taiwanese had vowed that she would fight hard till the very end and never quit. With the absence of Chinese and Japanese players due to travel restrictions and the coronavirus scare, Tai Tzu Ying is one of the favourites to win the title. Her path has become a bit easier with the elimination of Indian stars, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu from the tournament.
She has worked a lot on her physical fitness in the eight-month break imposed due to the global pandemic. The Taiwanese player has also adjusted to the strange atmosphere of playing without the presence of any crowds. In the mid-year break, Tai faced some male players in a tournament conducted by the Chinese Taipei Badminton Association to stay in touch with the game.
Tai Tzu Ying is known for her mastery at the net. Her variety of strokes can make her virtually unbeatable when she is going in full flow. Her deceptive game can struggle against players who play fast and put the shuttle at the deeper end of the court.
Michelle Li has improved her intensity after working extensively with her coach and physio. She takes her time to settle into a match.
Tai Tzu Ying possesses a variety of shots and big-match experience makes her a strong favourite to clinch this encounter unless Michelle pulls out something special.
Prediction - Tai Tzu Ying to win in three games
Featured Image Credits - Getty Images