OUE Singapore Open 2017

Tai wins 5th title in a row

Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-ying on her way to beating Carolina Marin of Spain 21-15, 21-15 in the women's singles final to win the OUE Singapore Open. Tai's fifth title on the spin makes her the first woman to do so.
Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-ying on her way to beating Carolina Marin of Spain 21-15, 21-15 in the women's singles final to win the OUE Singapore Open. Tai's fifth title on the spin makes her the first woman to do so.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Reigning Olympic gold medallist Marin could not breach the world No. 1's defence

All week at the OUE Singapore Open, Carolina Marin - confident and cruising - had been the one to beat.

But the untouchable ran into the unstoppable yesterday in the final, as the reigning Olympic champion from Spain was routed 21-15, 21-15 by Tai Tzu-ying in the women's singles final.

The triumph makes the world No. 1 from Chinese Taipei the first women's singles player to pick up five Superseries titles on the trot, winning as many tournaments as she has entered herself in, starting from the Hong Kong Open last November.

The Taiwanese, though, keeps no record of such streaks.

She remembered only how poorly she performed in Saturday's semi-final, and knew how much she needed to improve in order to stay in the contest.

"I don't think I'm a consistent player," said Tai, who was wobbly in her straight games semi-final win over Zhang Beiwen of the United States.

  • FINALS

  • MEN’S SINGLES

    B. Sai Praneeth (Ind) bt
    K. Srikanth (Ind) 17-21 21-17 21-12

  • WOMEN’S SINGLES

    Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe) bt Carolina
    Marin (Esp) 21-15 21-15

  • MEN’S DOUBLES

    Mathias Boe/
    Carsten Mogensen (Den) bt
    Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen (Chn)
    21-13 21-14

  • WOMEN’S DOUBLES

    Kamilla Rytter Juhl/
    Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt
    Misaki Matsutomo/
    Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn)
    21-18 14-21 21-15

  • MIXED DOUBLES

    Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt
    Dechapol Puavaranukroh/
    Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha)
    19-21 21-16 21-11

"I probably make more errors in matches than any other player. I did much better today. Not many errors, didn't hesitate in my strokes too much, and I controlled the match much better.

"I was prepared for a long match after playing her for more than 80 minutes last week (at the Malaysia Open final).

"I just stayed patient and maybe it led to more errors on her part."

Marin, while still outwardly assertive of the points she won, following each one with her signature shriek, was in fact filled with self-doubt and disbelief inside.

For the first time this week at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, she looked vulnerable. Up against Tai's patient game filled with disguise and deception, Marin responded only with careless blunders.

Yet, it was her self-perceived lack of mental strength that the world No. 2 berated the most.

She said: "I'm really disappointed about my performance. I was so negative - it couldn't be my way.

"I didn't think about what I have to do - (I) just (thought) 'This is not good', 'My stroke is not good'. Today was not possible."

But Marin, who will return to training in Madrid with no silverware after making three finals in as many weeks in Asia, is not leaving without any takeaways - even as she continues her search for a first title since the Olympic Games last August.

She said: "I can take away all my motivation on court. It was a really good three weeks - not the end I (wanted)... but I'll just take the positives from these three weeks. "I need to learn from that and look forward to my next tournament."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2017, with the headline 'Tai wins 5th title in a row'. Print Edition | Subscribe