(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
TTY: Truly Trust Yourself
Date: 12/18/2021 2:44 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
The women’s singles final in Huelva will feature two of the very best: Tai Tzu Ying and Akane Yamaguchi. 

Tai Tzu Ying is arguably one of the best-ever to have wielded a badminton racket. Despite having spent almost four years as the World No. 1, a record, she didn’t have any major medals to boast. Tai did redeem herself by breaking the jinx and winning silver in Tokyo. 

The Chinese Taipei ace had previously made five quarterfinals in five appearances at the tournament. She lost to the eventual champion on three occasions. She lost to Lindaweni Fanetri in 2015, despite leading 20-14 after winning the opener. She was all over the place against He Bing Jiao in 2018. She skipped the tournament over Summer Universiade in 2017. The list goes on. 

- My best performance was the last eight so far. Today is a breakthrough and I hope to make one more tomorrow, Tai chirped. 

Overcoming the demons
Coming into the World Championships with a goal to fix things up, Tai is on the right track. She reversed the result of the last edition in the quarterfinals by beating Pusarla V. Sindhu. Today, she avenged her loss to Bing Jiao to reach the final: 21-17, 13-21, 21-14. She did go on a walkabout during the middle of the match, but regained composure in time. 

- TTY are my initials. They stand for Truly Trust Yourself. I always trust myself, she beamed. 

- It is nice to win a medal, but it is also a bit sad to settle for bronze for the second time, Bing Jiao said in retrospect. 

The final battle
Only one hurdle stands between Tai and the crown: an in-form Akane Yamaguchi. The Japanese World No. 3 has been making amends for the disappointment in Tokyo. She outplayed An Seyoung, a familiar opponent, in the quarterfinals. Having settled for a bronze in 2018, she went one step better. Yamaguchi was in supreme control as she dismissed the surprise semifinalist: Zhang Yi Man: 21-19, 21-19. 

Consequently, China’s wait for gold in the category is prolonged. Wang Yihan won the title back in 2011. The nation’s best hope, the Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei, did not contest this year. 

Would the other two semifinalists otherwise have been Carolina Marin and Chen Yu Fei? Possibly, but all eyes are on the two contending for the gold. 

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