WORLD No. 1 women’s singles shuttler Tai Tzu-ying is only human after all.
The 24-year-old Taiwanese was finally beaten in her 32nd match which also put an end to hopes of a maiden world title.
Backed by the strong home support, China’s He Bingjiao (pic) rose to the occasion to beat Tzu-ying 21-18, 7-21, 21-13 for her first win over her nemesis in seven matches at the Youth Olympic Sports Park Arena yesterday.
It was only Tzu-ying’s second defeat of the year after losing to Ratchanok Intanon in the final of the Malaysian Masters in January. She has played 37 matches in total.
Tzu-ying was not disheartened despite not being able to extend her winning streak further.
The defeat came just a day after she erased China’s Li Xuerui’s 30-match unbeaten streak recorded in 2012.
“That’s just another match for me, it’s no big deal,” said Tzu-ying.
“All my rivals are out to beat me. So they must have prepared very well to play against me.
“So it came as no surprise that I lost.
“But I’ve said from the start – I’m prone to making mistakes lately. In the third game (against Bingjiao), I made so many unforced errors and paid the price.”
As for Bingjiao, the win over Tzu-ying made her only the second player besides Ratchanok to beat Tzu-ying since last October.
“Actually, I didn’t think I had a chance of winning the match – not even at the final stage of the game,” said Bingjiao, who lost six on the trot against Tzu-ying – including the final of the Malaysian Open in June.
“Even if I’m leading 19-10, I never feel safe. This is because she has the ability to win points with ease.
“Playing against Tzu Ying has always been my target. It’s just unbelievable that I was finally able to beat her,” added the southpaw.
Bingjiao will continue carrying her nation’s hopes of reclaiming the women’s singles crown after four editions. She faces two-time world champion Carolina Marin of Spain in today’s last four.
Marin crushed 2015 runner-up Saina Nehwal of India 21-6, 21-11.