“First title of the year and a good start”.
That was the simple message from Ratchanok Intanon after beating world number one Tai Tzu-Ying to win the Malaysia Masters – the first Super 500 event on the new HSBC BWF World Tour - on Sunday.
But there was nothing simple about Intanon’s victory, having crucially saved two Championship points against the top seed on her way to a 21-16, 14-21, 24-22 victory – her fourth in six attempts against Tzu-Ying since defeat in last year’s YONEX All England final.
Intanon's victory also means Thai shuttlers have now won back-to-back women’s singles titles on the World Tour after Nitchaon Jindapol's success at the Thailand Masters in Bangkok last week.
Showing all the fighting spirit that has become a hallmark of her game, the 22 year old also beat second-seed Japanese Akane Yamaguchi at the second final stage in another three-game thriller on Saturday to secure a place in the final.
It is now anticipated that the 2-time YONEX All England finalist will rise to fourth on the world ranking as attentions to Jakarta and another Super 500 Indonesia Masters where she is drawn to face Beiwen Zhang in Round One.