Olympics-Badminton-Taiwan's Tai focused on fixing mistakes, not Chen threat

·2-min read
Badminton - Women's Singles - Group Stage

By Richa Naidu

TOKYO (Reuters) -Taiwan's Tai Tzu-Ying said she will have to cut out mistakes if she is to make an impact at the Tokyo Olympics and will only begin to think about the threat posed by China's Chen Yu Fei if they both advance to the final.

World No. 1 Tai, who came away empty-handed from the London and Rio Games, looked good in winning her opening set against Sabrina Jaquet 21-7 in their group match.

But she was less tidy in the second, allowing her Swiss opponent, ranked 45 places below her, to pick up 13 points before Tai secured the win.

"I need to reduce the number of mistakes I make and try to get into the rhythm of the match faster ... I can't control my mistakes," Tai said after the match at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza.

"I don't perform very well, especially during the Olympics, so I hope that this time around I can improve."

Tai knows she needs to tighten her game if she is to defeat world number two Chen. But "I'm not worried about that for the moment because based on the group matches, I need to go to the final to be able to meet her."

Tai has enjoyed plenty of international success, becoming world number one in 2016, winning the All England Open title three times and was a gold medallist at 2018 Asian Games.

But things have been different on the Olympic stage and, despite being only 27, Tokyo might be her last chance as she has hinted she will retire after the Games.

In men's doubles, Indonesia's Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, dubbed the 'Minions' because of their diminutive stature, made short work of Britain's Ben Lane and Sean Vendy, winning 21-15 21-11.

"It's a tough one, starting the Olympics against world number ones," Lane said. "We pushed them a little bit in the first game, but then when they get comfortable and confident it's so hard to play against them, so they made it tough for us in the second."

In men's singles, world number two Denmark's Viktor Axelsen - the biggest threat Japan's Kento Momota faces in his quest for a gold medal - beat Austria's Luka Wraber 21-12 21-11.

"Preparations have been really good so hopefully I can have a good run here," Axelsen said. "But I'm taking nothing for granted, I know what it's like to be here and you have to work hard for every single point."

(Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Peter Rutherford and John Stonestreet)

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