Nguyen Thuy Linh won her second Vietnam Open title in a row after a thrilling victory over Japan's Akari Kurihara on Sunday.
In the semifinals, Linh (27th on the world ranking) had an intense win against another Japanese player, Suizu Manami, while Kurihara (156th) saved energy after her opponent quit.
Nguyen Thuy Linh holds her gold medal in the Vietnam Open on September 17, 2023.
However, with the home advantage and as the defending champion, Linh took the lead with smart movement and powerful baseline strikes, winning the first set 21-14 .
The second set saw Kurihara coming back on top while Linh lacked accuracy. She often hit it out of the court and quickly lost 21-11.
In the third set, Linh's stamina was low and she couldn't maintain a good stance against Kurihara. The Japanese player looked like settling the final when she led 16-11, while Linh was tired and had to sit down many times to catch her breath.
However, with her winning mentality, Linh did not give up. She stood up and scored five consecutive points to level 17-17 and then led 20-17. Although Kurihara got two points back, Linh was able to secure the 21-19 win. After the decisive point, she lay down on the court with no energy to celebrate.
Before the final, Linh said that competing constantly in recent tournaments drained her of her stamina and killed her excitement.
Linh got $7,600 for her title and accumulated more points to aim for Olympic Paris qualification next year.
The 2023 Vietnam Open is a tournament of the World Badminton Federation. It is held annually in HCMC and is the biggest badminton tournament in Vietnam. The prize pool for this year's tournament was $100,000, higher than last year's $75,000.