Linh overcomes giant rivals to vie for German Open title

March 03, 2024 - 16:15
Nguyễn Thùy Linh advances to German Open final after defeating world high-ranking rivals, looking for her first title of the year.
Nguyễn Thùy Linh of Việt Nam leaves strong rivals behind to reach the German Open final. She will play Mia Blichfedt of Denmark in her search for her first title of 2024. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Thùy Linh made a milestone in her career after for the first time clinching a place in the German Open's final, a World Tour Super 300 event of the Badminton World Federation.

No Vietnamese athlete has reached this stage prior to Linh.

The tournament's No 7 seed stormed to the gold medal match after soundly beating former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the quarter-finals on March 1 and Asian Games winner Kim Ga Eun of South Korea in the semi-finals on March 2 at the Westenergie Sporthalle, Muelheim.

Intanon is the No 1 Thai player. She is currently world No 14, nine places higher than Linh. The 29-year-old reached world top position in 2016.

Coming to the Open, Intanon was seeded No 3 and considered in a higher level compared to Linh who never won in their meets.

However, the Vietnamese player was better in the court, taking the lead from the beginning of both sets and won 21-13, 21-15.

No 2 seeded Kim was said to be an even tougher rival in the last-four round. But it was not her day when Linh maintained her high peak at this competition.

Kim could not prove her class when she struggled to score points against enduring and persistent Linh. The first set ended at 22-20 for world No 13 Kim.

In the second set, things changed totally. Linh was the better player as she not only attacked but also defended well, winning 21-8.

Her performance continued in the decisive third set, coming from behind to level the score and get ahead, to end at 21-16.

The win not only gave Linh a berth in the final but also helped her avenge her 0-2 loss to Kim at the 2023 China Master last November.

In the final, Linh will play No 6 seed Mia Blichfedt of Denmark.

The singles winners of the tournament will gain 7,000 points for their world ranking and shared a purse of US$210,000.

After Germany, Linh will continue her European tour in France, England, Switzerland and Spain, as part of her Paris Olympics preparation. VNS