They dashed French hopes Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue 21-15, 21-17 on Saturday to reach their third successive finals in the $1.5-million BWF World Tour Finals at the Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani.
The pair are the only Thai hope in the finals as Pornpawee Chorchuwong, and the duo of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai were defeated in their women’s singles and doubles knockout contests respectively.
“They came up with a good game plan, but we fought back by keeping them away from the net,” said Sapsiree.
Dechapol and Sapsiree will be vying for their third title in three weeks, having won back-to-back Thailand Open I and II titles on their way to Sunday’s final. They will face either Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung of South Korea or Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie of Malaysia.
“This is the first time for us to be in three finals at the three championships. It means a lot to us. We've been practising for nine months, and that time has had so many benefits for us and this is a dream come true,” said Dechapol.
They will also attempt to become the first Thai pair to win the mixed doubles gold medal. In 2010, Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thungthongkam had reached the semi-finals when the event was still called Super Series Finals but lost to Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China 17-21, 12-21.
In the women’s singles, world No 1 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan and Olympic gold medalist Carolina Marin of Spain set up their third straight final showdown after comfortable wins in the play-off stage.
Playing with precise shot selection and solid defence, Tai gave South Korean teenager An Se-young a badminton tutorial to win the play-off stage 21-18, 21-12. The in-form Marin dominated the other knock-out match against local Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-13, 21-13.
“My performance today wasn't too bad, I told myself before entering the match that I needed to play patiently because An Se Young is a player who doesn't easily make mistakes,” said the Taiwanese, who suffered back-to-back defeats to the Spaniard in the Thailand Open I and II finals earlier.
“I hope that I can prepare well for tomorrow's final. Everyone is tired because we're in the third week of these tournaments and I just wish to focus now and be patient,” added Tai, who is in her sixth straight finals.
Marin, who has lost only one match in three weeks when she was beaten by An Se-young in the group stage on Friday, will enter the final with a slight disadvantage against the Taiwanese. She trails 8-9 in their direct contests.
“Tai and I will have played three finals in a row, so it's tough but I am looking forward to tomorrow. One more final, I'm really happy to play and give my best tomorrow and enjoy one more game," Marin said.
In men’s singles, world No 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark scored a sweet revenge over Wang Tzu Wei of Taiwan with a tough 21-18, 14-21, 21-16 victory.
“I fought hard, he's a tricky opponent. He [Wang] got a lot of shuttles back. He fights really hard, it was a tough match with two guys fighting,” said the Dane, who had lost to the Taiwanese in two games in Friday’s group stage.
He will face countryman Viktor Axelson who stamped his authority over Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan with a 21-16, 21-9 win. Axelsen has been on a 29-game winning streak, including four wins over Chou in three weeks.
In women’s doubles, the journey of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai came to an end after they were beaten by South Koreans Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong 11-21, 21-12, 16-21.
Published : January 30, 2021
By : THE NATION