By THE NATION
Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai
Two-time champion Ratchanok, a quarter-finalist in last week’s Thailand Open I, dictated play with an impressive all-court game to beat India’s former world No 1 Saina Nehwal for the first time in five years. She had lost her previous five matches to Nehwal.
"I felt a bit of pressure at first because I’ve lost to her so many times before. But I learned from those experiences,” said the 2012 and 2017 Thailand Open champion.
“Newhal is one of the players I try to copy. She's fast, but today I made her run as much as possible as her footwork wasn’t as strong as usual,” added Ratchanok, who fell in the quarter-final last week to South Korean teenager An Se-young.
“I’ll try to forget what happened [last week] and hope to at least reach the semi-final this week.”
In the mixed doubles, Dechapol and Sapsiree rode momentum from their first home title together on Sunday to stretch their winning streak to six matches with a 21-14, 21-19 win over 2019 Dutch Open winners Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek of the Netherlands.
Also advancing to the second round were Supak Jomkoh and Kitinupong Kedren in the men’s doubles. In only their second international event together, the Thai duo came from behind to beat Malaysia’s world No 28 Goh Sze Fel and Nur Izzuddin 13-21, 21-13, 21-17.
However, other Thai players headed to the exit early on Tuesday.
In the men’s singles, Sitthikom Thammasin went down 21-11, 21-11 to India’s Kidambi Srikanth, while Khosit Phetpradab was tamed 21-13, 21-13 by Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito.
In the women’s singles, Supanida Katethong succumbed 21-16, 21-11 to Taiwan’s top-seeded Tai Tzu Ying, while Sirada Roongpiboonsopit was crushed 21-9, 21-8 by Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung and Busanan Ongbamrungphan went down 21-17, 21-13 to India’s sixth-seeded Pusarla V Sindhu.