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Thai giant-killer stuns world No 1 to book place in last 4 of World Tour Finals

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Thailand’s unheralded Pornpawee Chochuwong stunned world No 1 Tai Tzu-ying to book a place in Saturday’s semi-finals of the $1.5-million BWF World Tour Finals on Thursday.

Thai giant-killer stuns world No 1 to book place in last 4 of World Tour Finals

Ratchanok Intanbon 

A day after scoring her first win over Thai No 1 Ratchanok Intanon, the 23-year-old from Rayong deployed a dazzling array of shots to crush the Taiwanese star in 37 minutes, winning their group B match 21-17 21-11.

Pornpawee surged top of the group with two wins from two games and guaranteed herself a semi-final berth.

“Today I wanted more self-control than yesterday and to keep momentum flowing with every single shot. When I saw a chance, I took it. I didn't think too far ahead about who I was playing. Tai is a top player so people might think she's sure to beat me, but today I fought to overcome the feeling that victory was impossible,” said the world No 13, who gained her first win against the Taiwanese in four meetings.

Tai, meanwhile, admitted she was physically exhausted after reaching back-to-back finals in the Thailand Open I and II only to lose to Carolina Marin of Spain on both occasions.

“I made a lot of mistakes and couldn't control the game. I felt tired also and that affected my performance,” said the world No 1.

Earlier, Ratchanok clawed back to beat India’s VP Sindhu 21-18 21-13 and keep her semi-final hopes alive.

“We both lost our matches yesterday in the first round, so today was important for us … I just wanted to focus on winning point-by-point,” said Ratchanok, who must beat Tai on Friday to earn a berth in the other semi-final. Thailand’s No 1 squandered four match points before losing to the Taiwanese in the Thailand Open II last Saturday.

“We’ve played many times and known each other’s style well. The only thing I need to think about is being active and bringing a great game to her,” she added.

In group A, heavy favourite Carolina Marin maintained her domination with a 21-16 21-13 win over Michelle Li of Canada. An Se-young of South Korea also scored her second win, beating Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia 21-12 21-17.

In men’s group A action, top seed Viktor Axelsen stretched his winning streak to 27-0 by downing Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia 21-15 21- 4. The Dane will face third-seeded Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan in Friday’s last round-robin match to decide the group winner. Chou eased past Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia 21-19 21-11.

In mixed doubles, Thai duo Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai suffered their first loss in three weeks, going down to South Korea’s Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yufung 21-17 21-17. The Thais must now beat top-ranked pair Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of England in the last group A match to earn a semi-final spot.

Published : January 28, 2021