Badminton hero into quarters after wearing out Chinese rival

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Vietnam’s badminton ace Nguyen Tien Minh has advanced to the quarterfinals at the Malaysia Open Super Series after beating Bao Chunlai of China in a clever war of attrition on Thursday.

Minh, who moved one place to 10th in the world rankings after the victory, beat the world’s 6th-ranked Bao 21-19, 12-21 and 11-6.

Minh had lost all four previous clashes with Bao.

Though Bao led14-10 in the first set, Minh kept calm and stood firm before equalizing the score at 19-19 and going on to take the set 21-19.

Bao’s hard smashes made the next set very difficult for Minh. But with Bao leading 12-4, the Vietnamese underdog took to Muhamed Ali’s famous “rope-a-dope” strategy of wearing the opponent out rather than trying to beat him quickly. Minh began making Bao run all over the court with his wild shots, never letting him stand still. The Chinese strongman won the second set 21-12, but he was worn out.

Minh took advantage of Bao’s fatigue and continued to make the Chinese star move. Bao grew so exhausted he forfeited the set once Minh led by 11-6.

Minh will next clash with Jan O Jorgensen from Denmark, currently ranked ninth, in the quarterfinals at the January 19-24 contest,

It is expected that Minh, the only Vietnamese to enter the world’s top 100, will find the Dane particularly difficult as Jorgensen defeated world number one Malaysian Lee Chong Wei, 12th-ranked Thai Boonsak Ponsana and 3rd-ranked Chinese Chen Jin to play the finals at the China Open Super Series last December.

Source: SGGP

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