By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
Their victory was a solace for Thai fans after badminton star Ratchanok Intanon blew away four championship points and lost to China’s He Bing Jiao 21-18 22-24 17-21 in the women’s singles final.
The third-ranked Dechapol and Sapsiree entered the final showdown with a poor record of just one win against seven defeats to the world No 1 mixed doubles team. However, they refused to be intimidated or concede the psychological edge to their rivals, pursuing a clear plan to to destroy the momentum of the Chinese duo.
The Thais were solid in defence and unsettled their rivals with attacks down the middle of the court to wrap up the fight in just 34 minutes. They became the first Thais to emerge winners in this tournament.
“Whoever remain in better control will win. We just have to take charge and stay patient which really rewarded us today," said Sapsiree, after winning her second World Tour Super 500 title with Dechapol this year.
“We feel more confident in our game after this win. We tried not to think of the previous results and went on the court sticking to our game plan," she added.
It was also the second victory of the season for the Thai pair following their triumph in the Singapore Open where they had upset Zheng and Huang in the semi-finals.
Earlier, Ratchanok was just four points from clinching the title, leading her seventh-ranked rival 20-16 in the decisive game. But a flurry of unforced errors by the Thai, and He's determination to retrieve from all corners of the court turned the match around.
Luck too did not side with Ratchanok, whose smash at 22-23 was called out. The Thai could not challenge the decision as she had run out of her challenge quota. However, a hawk’s-eye view later confirmed that the shot was in.
In the third game, the Thai lost steam and concentration as the Chinese finally prevailed in 75 minutes 21-18 22-24 17-21.
Ratchanok, the former world No 1, has been in five World Tour finals this year and won two titles -- the Malaysia Masters and India Open.