Ahn aims for ‘absolute No. 1’ in shuttlecock singles…World Championships – AG is key

Ahn aims for ‘absolute No. 1’ in shuttlecock singles…World Championships – AG is key

The world badminton women’s singles is currently a four-way tie.

Akane Yamaguchi (JPN), Yue Fei Chen (CHN), and Tai Tzu-ying (TAI) make up the “Big Four,” led by Korean women’s badminton sensation Ahn Se-young.

In a back-and-forth battle for the top spot, Ahn overtook Yamaguchi on Nov. 31 to take the top spot in the world rankings.

She has blossomed this year with seven wins, three runner-up finishes, and one bronze medal in 11 international competitions.

Ahn’s physical strength and flexibility have allowed her to maximize her defense this year, while her offensive game has taken her hairpin and drop shot accuracy to the next level.

Ahn got off to a strong start in 2023, winning the India Open and Indonesia Masters in the first month of the year and finishing runner-up at the Malaysia Open.

In March, she dominated badminton’s most prestigious tournament, the All-England Open, becoming the first South Korean to win a women’s singles gold medal in 27 years, since Hwang Soo-hyun in 1996.

After back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Asian Individual Championships in April and the Sudirman Cup in May, Ahn bounced back with back-to-back titles at the Thailand Open and Singapore Open in June.

She won back-to-back titles for the first time in her career at the Korea Open on July 23, the first tournament of the second half of the year, and took the world No. 1 ranking after winning the Japan Open the day before.

It is especially encouraging to see that she has shown improvement against Yamaguchi, Chen Yufei and Tai Zhiying along the way.

She still trails her ‘nemesis’ Yamaguchi 8-12 in their career head-to-head, but has won 3-2 this year.

In terms of international tournament results this year, Ahn has a significant lead over Yamaguchi (four wins and two runner-up finishes).

She has also taken 4 wins (2 losses) from Chen Yufei, who was stuck with only 1 win (8 losses) last year.

Tai Ziying, who was originally the favorite, has won 5 games this year (1 loss) to improve his overall record to 8-2.

It seems that her work on customizing her game plan against them has finally paid off.

“You have to be able to play differently in each game because your opponents have different styles,” said Kim Hak-gyun, head coach of the Korean National Badminton Team, adding, “Ahn Se-young herself realized that she had only one play before, and she is in the process of changing it.”

Ahn’s golden smashing now heads to the World Individual Badminton Championships in August and the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.

If she maintains her momentum at these two events, she could shatter the traditional four-way tie and establish herself as the “absolute favorite.

This is why Ahn did not participate in the Australian Open, which begins next month, but returned home immediately after the Japan Open.

“Rather than participating in the Australian Open, she decided it would be more meaningful to manage her condition and do reinforcement training until the World Individual Championships, where the top points are at stake,” said an association official. 스포츠토토

The Asian Games are the de facto equivalent of the Olympics, as Yamaguchi, Chen Yufei and Tai Zhiying are all eligible to compete.

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