Top-ranked Tai Tzu-ying pushed through a challenging second game to clinch a 21-8, 23-21 victory against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt at the Thailand Open to set the women’s singles final with former world No 1 Carolina Marin. The Spaniard trounced South Korean teenager An Se-young 21-16, 21-16 on Saturday.

Tai Tzu player made a strong start, but Blichfeldt’s strong defence caused her problems.

In the second game, the speed of the shuttle was different down that end and I had to adapt to that,” said Tai. “I didn’t feel any negative situation for myself, and I think if I play like this, I’m so ready for tomorrow,” she said.

The men’s singles final will be between Viktor Axelsen and Ka Long Angus Ng.

Demark’s fourth-seeded Axelsen mounted a strong comeback against Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting to win 21-19, 13-21, 21-13 in 63 minutes. Seven-seeded Angus Long of Hong Kong started off slow against Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen, ranked second in the world in men’s singles, but won in a 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 upset.

Chou said he “lost control” by the third set. “I made some easy mistakes and that made me lose the second game. I just didn’t feel in control.”

The Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive tournaments in Bangkok culminating in the World Tour Finals from January 27.

Flown in a week before the start for quarantine and testing, the players are facing off in a bio-secure “bubble”, with no spectators allowed.

The tournament has been overshadowed by the positive cases for Egyptian mixed doubles player Adham Hatem Elgamal, a German coach and a French staff member.

Elgamal, who had to drop out on the first day and was moved to a hospital, took to Instagram on Saturday to raise doubts about his initial test results.

He told AFP that since arriving in Thailand, subsequent tests had shown negative results.

“They made a mistake, and I am paying for this mistake because I missed the tournament, and I am ok with this but I want to go back to Egypt,” Elgamal told AFP. “Why am I not allowed to go back if I am OK and I tested negative?”

But doctor Piyaja Nagavajara explained that Elgamal had tested positive on the PCR test, which is the highest standard.

A subsequent antibody test indicated a “recent infection” and a chest x-ray led a team of doctors to conclude that a “viral infection went to his lungs”.

“I think the problem is a miscommunication or maybe we don’t have an effective translator,” Piyaja told AFP.

With APF Inputs