Spain's Marin guns for badminton World Tour Finals title

Bangkok (AFP) –


Reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin was unstoppable Saturday, clinching a spot in badminton's World Tour Finals after quickly dispatching Thai player Pornpawee Chochuwong in a 21-13, 21-13 game.

The delayed 2020 season finale, which began Wednesday, is the third tournament behind closed doors in three weeks in Bangkok, as badminton resumes after months of coronavirus cancellations.

The Spaniard -- winner of back-to-back titles for the past fortnight -- is gunning for a hat-trick of victories in tomorrow's finals.

Her opponent, 13th-ranked Pornpawee, has performed better than expected in the World Tour.

She beat her personal idol, Thai star Ratchanok Intanon, and top-ranked Tai Tzu-ying during the round-robin stage earlier this week.

But the 23-year-old was no match against the more experienced Marin, who praised Pornpawee's play but admitted that three straight weeks of badminton was wearing on her.

"Three tournaments in a row is tough," said the fifth-seeded player. "But I am looking forward to tomorrow... I'm really happy to play and give my best tomorrow and enjoy one more game."

Marin will once again be facing off against top-ranked Tai Tzu-ying, who she had beaten two weeks in a row during the previous tournaments' finals.

The Taiwanese player earlier in the day trounced South Korean teen prodigy An Se-young, who admitted to feeling lethargic during the 37-minute game.

"I think my physical condition has dropped -- I feel heavy and made mistakes, so I couldn't match Tai Tzu-ying's speed," said An of the 21-18, 21-12 game.

As for Tai's final meeting with Marin, she said she wanted to just "focus now and be patient" for Sunday's finals.

Missing from the tournament are players from China and Japan -- 2019's World Tour Finals champs -- because of coronavirus problems.

Despite the strict biosecurity arrangements in Bangkok, four people inside the tournament "bubble" have tested positive, including two players who were forced to withdraw.