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Thursday January 17, 2013

Baun wants to go out with a bang

MALAYSIA has been a favourite hunting ground for the experienced Tine Baun.

The 33-year-old won the Malay­sian Open in 2008 and 2009 before going on to achieve more notable wins – like the Korean and Denmark Opens in 2009 as well as the All-England in 2010.

But with the Danish No. 1 turning 34 in July, and with several young up-and-coming women’s singles players making their name, Baun has decided to call it a day.

The world No. 6, who has long held her own against several China stars – such as world No. 1 Wang Yihan, world No. 2 Li Xuerui and world No. 5 Wang Shixian – will finally hang up her racquet in March, after the All-England.

But first, Baun wants to ends with a flourish in what would possibly be her last visit to this country.

“Malaysia is definitely one of my favourite destinations, having won the title here twice,” said Baun.

“But after being around for so long, I think it’s the right time to call it a day after the All-England.

“But it’s just sad knowing that I’ll be leaving the sport that I love so much. Luckily though, there are a few promising youngsters who just might step up although it’s definitely too early to say.

“For now, I’m actually looking forward to a good run here, before going back to my studies and em­­barking on a new career,” added Baun, who plans to be a health nutritionist while also doing some part-time coaching.

Baun got off to a good start in the first round of this year’s Maybank Malaysian Open as she used all her experience to see off 17-year-old P.V. Sindhu of India 21-16, 18-21, 21-17 yesterday.

The Dane, who has been ill since last week, faces rising Chinese youngster Sun Yu in the second round.

The World Juniors runner-up, who came through the qualifiers, was in smashing form as she powered past Thailand’s Busanan Ong­bumrungpan 21-16, 21-13.

In other women’s singles matches, top seed Saina Nehwal of India and sixth seed Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan cruised into the second round.

All eight Malaysian pairs crashed out in the women’s doubles yesterday. But at least Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) duo Ho Yen Mei-Yap Rui Chen gave a gutsy display before going down 21-17, 17-21, 17-21 to experienced Scottish pair Jillie Cooper-Kristy Gilmour.

Top seeds and defending champions Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl and China’s Ma Jin-Tang Jinhua and Bao Yixin-Tian Qing progressed into the second round.

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