By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
The Thai No 1 pair, who had stunned world championships bronze medallists Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia in Saturday’s semi-finals, survived five match points to celebrate their first title of the season 21-19 18-21 28-26 in a see-saw battle lasting over 80 minutes.
“It’s been a load off to finally win a title for the first time since the Thailand Masters [January 2018],” said 26-year-old Jongkolphan from Chiang Mai. “We stuck to our game plan even though we lost concentration a bit in the second game. This win really means a lot to us in terms of our mental condition,” she added.
After a successful season in 2018, when they reached at least the quarter-finals in almost every tournament, the former world No 8 pair had been struggling with their form this year with only two semi-final berths -- at the India Open and Malaysia Open.
“It’s been a tough year for us as we have been up and down and didn’t go far in some tournaments. We were confused and didn’t know which style we should play. But things started getting better this week,” said Rawinda, who together with her partner has won five BWF titles and a SEA Games gold medal in Malaysia in 2017.
“We just have to play our game. That’s the key. We’ve beaten a few top doubles teams this week because we stuck to our guns and remained focused,” Jongkolphan said.
The two will next play in South Korea and China. However, they are still reluctant about defending their SEA Games crown as the regional event will clash with the BWF Finals in Guangzhou, China, where they are among the top eight teams according to current standings.