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Pornpawee's All England dream shattered

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Thailand has yet to wait for its first All England Open winner after Pornpawee Chochuwong succumbed the women’s singles final to former world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan on Sunday.

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The Thai No 2 could not repeat the spectacular performance that led to a stunning win against former world No 1 Sindhu V. Pusarla, losing to the Japanese 21-12 21-16 in her first final on a World Tour Super 1000 tournament.

“Today was a really tough match for me. Maybe she [Okuhara] has more fighting spirit than I do,” said the world No 11 Pornpawee. “She is more patient too while I made some mistakes. She controlled the game,” she added.

Her defeat means Thai players came short in all nine final attempts (men’s and women’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles) at the All England  since 1960. Last year, Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai also lost the mixed doubles final to Praveen Jordan and Melati Oktavianti of Indonesia.

“I think whole experience has been good for me. I hope to be back and I git it another trial in this tournament,” said the 23-year-old Pornpawee.

Okuhara won the title for the second time after her maiden came in 2016.

From the opening moments, it was apparent that it would be a tall order for the Thai to hurt the Japanese. Okuhara’s solidity gave the Thai no openings, and the second seed was never threatened.

“I’m very happy to be the All England champion again!” said Okuhara. “I wanted to play the same in this final as in my other matches, but I wanted to play my shots to the back higher which worked very well. It’s her first time in the final of the All England, I think she felt a little bit of pressure.

“Five years ago I won here and there was no pressure, this time I’m in the top five in women’s singles so that has changed things. But my overall play is now at a higher level so I am very happy.”

In the men’s singles, Malaysian Zii Jia Lee stunned tournament’s favourite Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 30-29 20-22 21-9 in a marathon showdown.

 

Published : March 21, 2021

By : THE NATION