Pressure-free Yufei downs Tzu-ying to lift Malaysian Masters title

CHEN Yufei (pic) showed she is the best bet to redeem China’s battered pride in the women’s singles event at the Tokyo Olympic Games when she oozed class to lift the season opener – the Malaysian Masters.

China had experienced one of their worst outings at the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro four years ago when they fired blanks in the women’s singles event for the first time but based on Yufei’s current form – their fortune is expected to be reversed in Tokyo.

Yesterday, Yufei underlined her new status as the world No. 1 when she outplayed world No. 2 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan 21-17,21-10 in a surprisingly one-sided 37-minute final.

The Chinese took over the top spot from Tzu-ying in the world ranking three weeks ago.

Yufei had previously struggled to beat the Taiwanese shuttler having lost 14 times out of their 16 meetings.

She had no such problems yesterday as she dominated from the beginning and never looked like relinquishing control of the match.

“I played without pressure today as she was the favourite considering our record, ” said the 21-year-old.

“I just wanted to go out there and enjoy the match and this helped me win.

Besides, Yufei also feels that she has gained maturity and is more consistent in her play.

“I’ve learnt from all my previous defeats to Tzu-ying, ” added Yufei, whose main focus this year is to win a medal at the Tokyo Games.

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