Saturday, September 21, 2019

Ratchanok eyes third Thailand Open title after surviving epic battle with Pornpawee

Aug 03. 2019
Ratchanok Intanon outlasts Pornpawee Chochuwong to reach her fourth Toyota Thailand Open final./Nation photo Wanchai Kraisornkhajit
Ratchanok Intanon outlasts Pornpawee Chochuwong to reach her fourth Toyota Thailand Open final./Nation photo Wanchai Kraisornkhajit
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By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
The Nation

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Two-time former champion Ratchanok Intanon recovered from a brief bout of nerves to beat Pornpawee Chochuwong 23-21 17-21 21-19 in all-Thai women’s singles semi-finals of the Toyota Thailand Open at Hua Mark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok on Saturday (August 3).

 World No 7 Ratchanok, who has won the tournament twice, in 2013 and 2017, relied on her repertoire of shots and experience to subdue her up-and-coming opponent after a tough 80-minute battle to enter the final.

“I have to admit that Pornpawee was playing so well, maybe even better than I was,” the Thai No 1 said. “She came into the match with a good game plan and hit from everywhere. I just proved mentally tougher at crucial points,” said Ratchanok.

The Thai hope will be eyeing her third Thailand Open crown when she world No 4 Chen Yufei of China on Sunday. The Chinese top seed cruised past Sayaka Takahasi of Japan 21-16 21-19. She leads her Thai rival 8-2 in head-to-head clashes.

“Of course, I want to win in front of the home fans. But I need to recover quickly and study her game more before the match tomorrow. I’m just so happy to pull it off today," she said.

In men’s doubles, reigning world champions Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China beat Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe of Japan 21-13 22-20 to set up a final showdown with India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty who ousted South Koreans Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol 22-20 22-24 21-9.

In women’s doubles, Japanese duo Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto beat Chang Ye Na and Kim Hye Rin of South Korea 21-19 21-19. They face Du Yue and Li Yin Hui of China who stopped the run of South Koreans Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan 14-21 21-19 22-20.

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