Vietnam’s No. 1 badminton player Nguyen Thuy Linh defeated Japan’s Asuka Takahashi in the women’s singles final to win the Vietnam International Challenge title on Sunday night.
There were no seats left at the Tay Ho Sports Complex in Hanoi when Linh played Takahashi. Many had to sit on the ground to watch the match.
The support from the local fans seemed to boost Linh’s energy and helped her get through difficult moments to win against Takahashi. Just two weeks ago, she was defeated by Takahashi at the final of Thailand International Challenger and this win is considered a redemption for Linh.
In the first set, Linh constantly had powerful serves then finished with drops, which caused Takahashi trouble. Linh’s strikes had high accuracy and were hard to catch, and many times Takahashi lost points because she thought the shuttlecock had gone out of bounds of the court, but it did not. Linh quickly finished the first set 21-7.
Takahashi came back strong in the second set when Linh’s drops were no longer accurate. The coach told Linh to stay calm and she was able to equalize 15-15. However, she continued to make mistakes and failed to hit the shuttlecock over the net. The second set ended with a 21-15 victory for Takahashi.
The third and final set saw Linh retake the advantage. When the score was 5-2, Takahashi hit the ball across the line and the referee said it had stayed out of the court, and gave Linh the point. Takahashi reacted angrily because she believed that the shuttlecock stayed within the line. Her coach was not happy with this decision either and left her seat to complain with the head of the referees. She was unable to change the result.
After that, Takahashi was under pressure and the accuracy of her movements and strikes declined. The game ended when Linh had a match point while Takahashi did not hit it over the net. The third set ended with a 21-12 win for Linh.
Nguyen Thuy Linh receives flowers from spectators after winning Vietnam International Challenge. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
When Linh received the title, hundreds of fans went down the field to take photos, ask for her photograph and give her flowers.
After 20 minutes, Linh had to ask security to get her out of the crowd. Even Linh’s parents had to wait for over an hour to congratulate their daughter.
The 2023 Vietnam International Challenge was held in Hanoi from March 21 to 26.
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