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Badminton queen Tai Tzu Ying says PV Sindhu tougher rival than Saina Nehwal

Tai Tzu Ying is renowned for her attacking game, but acknowledges the counter-attacking abilities of the Indian world No 3 PV Sindhu.

other sports Updated: Jan 15, 2018 18:19 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Tai Tzu Ying,PV Sindhu,Saina Nehwal
Tai Tzu Ying admitted in an interview that PV Sindhu is tougher to face than Saina Nehwal. (AFP)

With China’s collective domination dipping in world badminton, the women’s game has had one player who has been head and shoulders above the rest.

Spain’s Carolina Marin dominated 2016, winning at the Rio Olympics after overcoming a fighting PV Sindhu in the final. The baton quickly passed to Tai Tzu Ying.

Still only 23, the Taiwanese has had a sensational run in the last two years, especially since taking over as world No 1 in December 2016. Sindhu stayed in hot pursuit but reached only No 2 before ending the year at No 3.

SINDHU OVER SAINA

However, any debate on Indian badminton figures Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. Though they have played many times at domestic level, their win-loss record is 1-1 in Badminton World Federation (BWF) events.

Tai Tzu Ying has seen Saina Nehwal as No 1 during her rise, but it is the younger Indian rival who has troubled her more.

“Sindhu is a tougher opponent because she has powerful smashes,” Tai Tzu Ying said in an interview.

The Taiwanese shuttler, who won five Superseries crowns in 2017, said: “Both Sindhu and Saina are very impressive players. Both had a great 2017. But this is just the beginning of a glorious era in Indian badminton with all the singles players in their early 20s. They are most likely to improve and further flourish.”

Tai though has a great record against both Indian players. She is 8-3 in career meetings against Sindhu, beating the Hyderabad player in all three meetings in 2017.

THE TIDE TURNS

Saina had lot of success against Tai early on, and did not lose to her in 2010 and 2011. The tide then turned. Tai has beaten Saina in eight of their nine meetings since then and has a six-match winning streak going back to November, 2014. The overall head-to-head stands at 8-5 in favour of Tai.

Tai Tzu Ying is one of the most successful players in Superseries history, winning 12 titles – five in 2017 – in the top series that has been recast by BWF this season.

But what does she regard as her biggest achievement?

“The All England Open. It is a very prestigious event and is known as the mini World Championship. I was achieving another milestone for Taiwanese badminton,” said Tai, who is supported by Red Bull.

Despite her current reign, Tai Tzu Ying is yet to win an Olympics or World Championships.

“Every Superseries title is important for me, not only the World Championships or Olympics. I do not know what others think, but I’m happy ranked on top. I can enjoy a special privilege, which is I don’t need to change clothing if the rival is wearing a jersey with a similar colour scheme,” said Tai.

Tai is currently playing in the Premier Badminton League (PBL), helping Ahmedabad Smash Masters enter the semi-finals.

“The league is very important for those countries where they want to promote badminton. It can not only nurture promising players but can also help players’ careers. PBL has been a great experience for me too. We’ve a great team with talent like HS Prannoy.”

First Published: Jan 13, 2018 23:51 IST