Ranked 11th in the world, Pornpawee dominated play with fast attacks and a solid defence to draw a stream of unforced errors from the fifth-seeded Indian, winning in straight games 21-17, 21-9.
For Thai fans, her win made up for the loss of two-time finalist Ratchanok Intanon in the other semi-final. Ratchanok lost to 2016 champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 16-21, 21-16, 21-19.
Pornpawee, 23, meets Okuhara on Sunday in the final of the Super 1000 tournament.
“Today, I was really confident and I played well in the match. My plan was to control myself first and fight every single shot because she [Sindhu] is also strong and fast. After I won the first game, in the second, she maybe put more pressure on herself and maybe made more mistakes than me,” said Pornpawee, who grew up in Rayong province.
She is the second Thai woman after Ratchanok to enter the final of the All England Open. Thailand is yet to have a winner in the tournament. Only three Thais have made it to the singles finals (Charoen Wattanasin in 1960 and 1962, Channarong Ratanaseangsuang in 1963 in men's singles and Ratchanok in 2013 and 2017 in women's singles). However, all three finished runners-up on those occasions.
"I'm really happy to be in the final. Nozomi has a better record against me but I have nothing to lose,” said the Thai hope, looking for her second Tour win after the Spain Masters last year. She trails former world champion Okuhara 1-4 in head-to-head.
Ratchanok yet again failed to reach the final in a Super 1000 event. She had an advantage at 18-14 in the final game but Okuhara’s swift court coverage and consistency made the difference between the two.
“At 18-14 up in the third set, I tried to believe that point by point I could win the game. But at that point, she [Okuhara] believed in herself more. We have played each other many times and they are all never easy,” said Ratchanok, who hoped Thailand would finally have a victor at the All England.
“Pornpawee has learnt a lot from experience from many tournaments. I believe if she can play her game tomorrow she could become champion,” Ratchanok said.
About her final showdown with Pornpawee, Okuhara commented: “I will try my best m. Pornpawee knows my style of play. She has speed, power and technique. I will keep up my speedwork and look at her shots and defence."
Published : March 20, 2021
By : THE NATION