Badminton: Spain's ex-No. 1 Marin breezes into s-finals of Thailand Open, to face upstart An

BANGKOK (AFP) – Spanish fifth seed and former world No. 1 Carolina Marin sailed through to the semi-finals of badminton’s Toyota Thailand Open on Friday (Jan 22), beating Turkey’s Neslihan Yigit 21-6, 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 in the Yonex Thailand Open against top-seeded Tai Tzu-ying, and continued her winning streak on Friday – despite the unheralded Yigit holding a brief lead in the second set.

“I wanted to keep going, keep fighting and keep the focus on what I needed to do, even when Yigit was leading,” said Marin.

She added that she was impressed with the 32nd-ranked Yigit – the sole Turkish player to make the quarter-finals at a Super 100 tournament.

“I hope that more European players will be playing badminton at this level,” Marin said.

She will be facing off in the semi-finals against South Korean An Se-young, a formidable teenager who was awarded “Most Promising Player” in 2019.

They already duelled in last week’s tournament, with the more experienced Marin winning in a quick 21-18, 21-16 semi-final match.

The 18-year-old, ranked ninth, said she would need to up her mental game in preparation for their showing on Saturday.

“If I want to win against Marin, I need to focus more than last time and have more confidence,” An said, after she disposed of Thai player Pornpawee Chochuwong in a 21-15, 21-18 clash full of smashes and attacks.

The athletes have been facing off under tight biosecurity because of the coronavirus pandemic, and without spectators, although the tournaments have been blighted by four positive coronavirus cases.

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