By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam - The Nation
The 18-year-old from Thepsirin School spent a month training with Mis Bunsidec, former coach of world No 1 Lee Chong Wei, in Malaysia before working with current national coach Rexy Mainaky which showed tremendous improvement in his recent performance.
“It’s been a great experience after a month working with Bunsidec and then with Rexy. In terms of fitness, I’m in excellent shape, having lost four kilos when I came back, “ said Kantaphon the World Junior Championship bronze medalist in Bilbao last year.
“But what’s more important for me is that I changed my attitude. I become more patient and didn’t rush my game or tried to hit big like I used to,” added the teenager who will play Malaysian Zii Jia Lee the conqueror of top seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-18 21-12 in the Saturday’s semi-finals.
“No matter who I play, I will be the underdog. I think I’ve gone beyond my expectations by reaching the semi-finals. I wouldn’t mind winning more though,” Kantaphon said.
In the women’s singles quarter-finals, top seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan easily moved past Soniia Cheah of Malaysia 21-7 21-18 to reach her back-to-back semi-finals in this tournament.
“I played according t my game plan, making her move as much as possible as she just came back from ankle injury. In the second game I rushed my game too much and she almost caught up with me. But I still managed to win in the end,” said the world No 12 who will play meet the winner between third seed Chen Yufei of China, the current world junior champion, and Japanese Natsumi Shimoda.
Second seed Nichaon Jindapol overcame a second game deficit to beat Liang Xiaoyu of Singapore 21-15 19-21 21-14.
“I was so excited as there were so many fans coming to see me. I didn’t start the second game well and felt less confident. In the final game my coach tried to push me to live up to my ability and fight,” said the 26-year-old who will set a rematch with Japanese Aya Ohori who beat her in the Thailand Open semi-final last year.
“I will discuss the game plan with my coach (Rexy Mainaky). I will try my best as I want a revenge,” Nitchaon said.
In mixed doubles, second seed Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai, last year’s quarter-finalists, beat Yang Po Han and Hung Shih Han of Taiwan 21-13 21-17. But Supak Jomkoh and Puttita Supajirakul lost to Indonesian Alfian Eko Prasetya and Annisa Saufika 17-21 21-18.
In women’s doubles Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree beat Indonesian Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah and Rizki Amelia Praditpta 21-14 21-14.