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Sports

Olympic champion Marin makes fast start at Thailand Open

  • The former world number one made short work of France's 37th ranked Qi Xuefei, winning the first game in just 15 minutes before sealing it 21-10, 21-12.
13 Jan 2021

BANGKOK: Spain's Carolina Marin sailed through the Thailand Open badminton first round on Tuesday as she made a fast start to her season, six months before her Olympic title defence.

The former world number one made short work of France's 37th ranked Qi Xuefei, winning the first game in just 15 minutes before sealing it 21-10, 21-12.

The Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive restart tournaments in Bangkok as badminton resumes after a coronavirus-ravaged 2020.

"I feel really happy to be back on court after some months without tournaments. I have really missed it a lot," said Marin.

"I wanted to get back this competition feeling, that adrenaline. I came with determination to win but also to keep my focus on my game plan.

"Winning here is what I want. I would like to win a title here."

It was the 27-year-old's first international outing since losing the Danish Open final in October.

Thailand's best hope, former world number one, Ratchanok Intanon is through to round two after polishing off Singapore's Yeo Jia Min, ranked 26 in straight sets; 21-15, 21-15.

In the men's singles, third seed Anders Antonsen made a surprise early exit in the first round going down to Malaysia's Liew Daren ranked 41st: 21-12, 21-18.

"Before this tournament I didn't know I would even play because I was on the reserves list, so to make it at the last minute and also win my first round against the third seed, it has really surprised me," Liew said, adding in the lead up his training had been disrupted by a coronavirus lockdown.

Meanwhile, Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk ranked 39th forced world number two Taiwan shuttler Chou Tien-chen into a three set decider.

The local came out firing in the first game 16-21 but quickly lost momentum going down 21-10, 21-14.

Meanwhile, Badminton World Federation said it's working with Thai health authorities to ensure coronavirus tests are comfortable after Indian player Kidambi Srikanth developed a nose bleed during a swab collection.

On day one, Egyptian mixed doubles player Adham Hatem Elgamal tested positive for the virus and withdrew from the tournament.

Indian star Saina Nehwal was among three other players who tested positive but were allowed to play because their infections were historic, according to the federation.