PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal’s chances boosted by Tai Tzu Ying’s withdrawal

For a badminton aficionado, this is the ultimate conundrum — Taiwan’s world No 1, Tai Tzu Ying withdrawing from the upcoming World Badminton Championships in Glasgow, so that she can compete for the women’s singles title at the World University Games (Universiade), being held in her hometown, Taipei City. The world meet is from 21 to 27 August, while the Universiade runs from 19 to 30 August.

“The Universiade is being held in my country for the first time. If I miss this, I will not get a chance to play in it anymore,” the third-year student of the National University of Taipei is understood to have told the world press. “I won’t regret skipping the world meet as it is held every year.”

File photo of PV Sindhu. AFP

Certainly, we can twist the old adage to read “One woman’s poison is another woman’s meat”! The news could hardly be better for all her rivals, as Tai has enjoyed over the past ten months the kind of superiority that is almost unprecedented in the annals of the shuttle sport. In the six-month period between December 2016 and May 2017, she won six Super Series tournament titles, and remained undefeated in 30 matches, totally dominating every other female player on the world circuit.

The strokeful Tai’s 32-match unbeaten streak finally came to an end most unexpectedly, when she produced an error-strewn performance against Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol in the quarter-finals of the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier in mid-June. Yet, once the aura of invincibility was shattered, Tai was also brought down in the semi-finals of the Australian Open Super Series by Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi.

Despite her two recent defeats, the 22-year-old Taiwanese star continues to sit on a massive lead of over 16,000 points over the player ranked second on the Badminton World Federation (BWF) ladder. Tai’s current tally of 94,409 points puts her completely out of the reach of the chasing pack, consisting of Yamaguchi (78,199), South Korea’s Sung…

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