By THE NATION
Despite losing to the seventh-ranked Sindhu in three previous meetings, the Thai star showed no sign of intimidation, generating a series of well-crafted shots from her racquet to take the match in just 38 minutes.
“I knew Sindhu would be an attacking player, so I tried to control the game and defend as much as possible,” said Ratchanok, who was beaten in the quarter-finals here last week by An Se-young of South Korea.
“I think Sindhu may have been a bit nervous today and didn't play her usual style. I felt like I played how I wanted. I really want to play in the semi-final and this is my first in a Super 1000,” added Ratchanok, the last Thai remaining in the singles after Pornpawee Chochuwong was eliminated by South Korea’s An 21-15 21-18.
The two-time Thailand Open champion set up a clash of the titans on Saturday against world No 1 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan, who rallied from a game down to beat Canadian Michelle Li 18-21 21-13 21-11.
“We know each other well. Admittedly, she can show better technique than I can, but it all depends on who misses first. The key for me is to take control [of play],” added Ratchanok.
World No 1 Tai was overwhelmed with errors in the opening game but turned over a new leaf to dominate the rest of the match with defensive and offensive skills.
"In the opening game I made a few errors, but I refocused in the second and third game,” said last week’s finalist, adding she was aiming to minimise mistakes in the semi-finals.
Thailand have two other players in a semi-final, after top seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai fought back to beat Koreans Ko Sung Hyun and Eom Hye Won 27-29 21-15 21-9.
“In the first game, they [Ho/Eom] kept things at their pace and had us moving a lot. In the second and third game, we had to make them move and then attack. They played very well, but perhaps their power just wasn't enough for the win today,” said Sapsiree.
The Thai duo will now fight for a place in the final against India’s world No 36 pairing Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa.
“We won’t place any expectations on the match, just do our best,” said Dechapol. “However, we’ve played them before and beat them every time.”
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa earned their place in the last four with an 18-21, 24-22, 22-20 win over Malaysian fifth seeds Chan Pan Soon/Goh Liu Ying on Friday.
In the men’s actions, three Danes stormed into the semi-finals. Second-seeded Chou Tien Chen prevailed in an all Taiwanese affair with Wang Tzu Wei 21-16 21-16. He will seek a revenge against Viktor Axelsen of Denmark on Saturday as the latter handed him a defeat in the Thailand Open I final. Axelsen is on a 23 match winning streak after he beat Daren Liew of Malaysia 21-16 21-15 .
Third-seeded Anders Antonsen of Denmark pipped Indian Sameer Verma 21-13 19-21 22-20 to set up the other semi-final clash with compatriot Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus who beat Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong 20-22 21-12 21-19.