|Việt Nam's Nguyễn Thùy Linh plays hard in a match against Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-ying. AFP/VNA Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Thùy Linh created several problems for world No 1 Tai Tzu-ying before losing her match at the Tokyo Olympics' women's singles badminton tournament yesterday.
Unseeded Linh got ahead with the first points of the first set against Tai of Chinese Taipei in the Group P second-round match at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza.
The Vietnamese who came to her first Olympics under no pressure kept a gap of two points until the scores hit 16-14.
Tai proved why she is the No 2 seed at the Games with a streak of seven points to win the first set 21-16.
The second set, however, was different. Linh still managed the first points but it was Tai who dominated. She sent Linh running around the court with long and short drives combined with drop shots and smashes. Tai also limited the errors that she had made in the first set.
Linh soon tired and could not maintain the pace of the first set, quickly losing 21-11.
Tai, who has won two matches, is first in the group, while Linh is second with one win and one loss. Only the top player of each group can advance to the next round.
Linh could still qualify if she wins her last match against Sabrina Jaquet of Switzerland, and Tai loses to Qi Xuefei of France.
Although his player did not manage a win, coach Ngô Trung Dũng was pleased with her performance.
"Linh was really focused in the first set. She saved every single point (and took the lead). It's a pity that she lost control when it was 16-14. Tai Tzu-ying took advantage and went on to win," said Dũng.
"Anyway, having a chance to play at the Olympics and competing with the world No 1 is rare. We will learn a lot from this and be better in the future."
Late on Sunday, Việt Nam badminton legend Nguyễn Tiến Minh could not get a break against world No 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark in Group L.
At the age of 38, Minh failed to challenge his younger and stronger rival. After about half an hour, Minh lost 21-13, 21-13.
To qualify for the next phase, he must now beat Ade Resky Dwicahyo of Azerbaijan today while the Azerbaijani must trounce Antonsen by a large margin.
Vietnamese swimmer Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên also competed in the women's 200m freestyle.
She finished last among eight athletes in the second heat with a time of 2min 5.30 sec and failed to progress. The result is not as good as she did at the 2019 SEA Games where she won a gold medal with a time of 2:00.75.
She still has one last chance at victory with the 800m freestyle on July 29.
Swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng will today begin his journey in the men's 800m freestyle qualifiers at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Weightlifter Hoàng Thị Duyên will attempt to win a medal for Việt Nam in the women's 59 kg class at the city's International Forum.
Based on her competitor results, World Cup champion Duyên is in with a good chance of taking silver if she can perform as well as she practises at home. VNS