NEW DELHI – Spanish shuttler Carolina Marin rallied from a game down to defeat China’s Gao Fangjie 13-21, 21-15, 21-11 on Thursday and reach the quarterfinals of the India Open badminton event.
The reigning Olympic women’s singles gold medalist and two-time world champion was expected to get revenge for a loss to the 19-year-old Chinese hopeful at last November’s China Open, but Gao had her sights set on another upset in second-round action at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium in the Indian capital.
The underdog came out with an aggressive game plan and also defended well in the early going against the 24-year-old Marin, who committed numerous errors and ended the first game with a pair of mistakes in the net.
But the fifth-ranked Spaniard quickly turned things around in the second game, claiming the first seven points and screaming out in celebration after each rally she won.
Gao fought back and narrowed the deficit, although Marin forced a decider with a forehand that landed just inside the back boundary line.
In the third game Marin broke open a tight contest by going on a 9-0 run down the stretch, capping off her victory with a smash winner.
Next up for Marin in Friday’s quarterfinals will be Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi, a 21-4, 21-7 winner over Thailand’s Thamolwan Poopradubsil in the second round.
Two other top women’s singles players also have advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals: the 2016 Olympic silver medalist and current world No. 3, PV Sindhu of India; and the 2013 world champion, fourth-ranked Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.