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Marin conquers Thai Open 

Agence France-Presse



Carolina Marin refuses to give up a point against  Tai  Tzu-Ying. / Agence france-presse

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin bolstered her chances of defending in Tokyo later this year after claiming the Thailand Open in Bangkok Sunday over top seed Tai Tzu-ying.

Despite having a cold, fourth seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark was electric in the men’s final against Hong Kong’s Angus Long, ranked eighth, claiming the title in straight sets.

Spaniard Marin, 27, a former world No. 1, was an imposing force with razor-sharp smashes, clever net work and an unmatched level of aggression and agility.

She screamed in delight as she won match point in the second set after steamrolling her 26-year-old opponent from Taiwan 21-9, 21-16 in 42 minutes.

“I wanted to show her from the beginning that I wanted to win,” Marin said.

Tai admitted she wasn’t able to keep pace and her condition wasn’t up to scratch.

“Carolina is always fast and aggressive. That is her playing style.

Today, she put a lot of pressure on me,” Tai said.

The first non-Asian women’s player to win an Olympic badminton gold, Marin has faced an uphill battle to recover from a January 2019 knee injury in time to defend her crown in Tokyo.

Axelsen, meanwhile, took just 44 minutes to triumph 21-14, 21-14 over Long.

“I knew I had to be 110 per cent going into the final. And having not played for so long, really happy that I managed to win,” Axelsen said.