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Ratchanok beaten in battle of Thai titans

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World No 13 Pornpawee Chochuwong upstaged her illustrious compatriot Ratchanok Intanon in the first group B match of the $1.5-million HSBC BWF World Tour Finals at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani on Wednesday.

 

Ratchanok beaten in battle of Thai titans

Pornpawee mixed iron determination with dazzling variety to wrest control from the world No 5 with a 15-21 21-11 21-18 victory.

“My hands and legs felt tight in the first game because I was so excited to be in my first Tour Finals,” said the 23-year-old, third in national rankings topped by Ratchanok. “But then I refocused and tried to make her play my game. I ran down all shots in the third game while she seemed to be under serious pressure,” added the 2020 Spain Masters winner.

In another group B see-saw battle, world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan rallied after losing the first game to beat the 2018 champion PV Sindhu of India 19-21 21-12 21-17.

“I had the lead early in the first game but then I started to rush things and that led to the unforced errors,” said Tai, who was beaten two weeks in a row by Spain’s Carolina Marin on her way to both Thailand Open titles earlier this month.

“I have played two tournaments [this month] now and it's very tiring. It was difficult to focus on court today,” said Tai, runner-up at the 2019 World Tour Finals to Chen Yufei of China.

In group A, Marin of Spain continued her dominant form with a convincing 21-19 21-14 win over Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia.

The former world No 1 proved superior in all aspects to beat the first Russian to reach the season finale.

“The first game was tough after winning back-to-back titles,” said Spain’s 27-year-old world No 6. “It's tough to be [mentally] ready again for a new week, a new match and a new tournament, but I managed to win today and will now prepare for tomorrow,” added Marin, who has not dropped a game in her last 11 matches.

Also victorious in the group was South Korea’s rising star An Se-young, who toppled Michelle Li of Canada 21-12 21-17.

On the men’s side, Taiwan’s world No 2 Chou Tien Chen needed three games in group A to beat Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia, 21-16 12-21 21-11. In group B, world No 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark benefited from a barrage of errors by Srikanth Kidambi of India to prevail 15-21 21-16 21-18. Fourth-seeded Wang Tzu Wei of Taiwan ousted Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong 21-10 21-14.

In mixed doubles, Thai hopes Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai rode red-hot form as Thailand Open I and II champions to beat Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia 21-13 16-21 21-11 in group A.

In women’s doubles, Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai upset fourth-seeded Chloe Burch and Lauren Smith of England 21-10 21-11 in group B action.

Published : January 28, 2021