By LERPONG AMSA-NGIAM
The world No 9 duo, who lifted their maiden title at the Swiss Open and who have reached three finals at the Thailand Masters, Singapore Open, and Asia Championships this year, took just 26 minutes to finish off their rivals and appear to be the favourites to triumph this weekend.
“We’ve used the two matches to fine tune our game and get used to the conditions,” said Dechapol, 20, from Chon Buri.
Sapsiree, the only player in the world to win women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at the World Grand Prix level, said the pair were under pressure. “Everybody expects us to win. We have set a target. All these aspects build up the pressure,” said the Thai, who won the women’s doubles title last year along with Puttita Supajirakul. However, Sapsiree is in action only in the mixed doubles this week as her towering doubles partner opted to sit out due to an injury.
In the quarter-finals, the Thais face Germany’s seventh-seeded Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich, whom they outplayed 21-14 21-17 at the Swiss Open in March.
While Dechapol and Sapsiree motored on, it was a different story for third-seeded Bodin Isara and Savitree Amitrapai, who were stunned by He Jiting and Du Yue of China, the 2016 World Junior mixed doubles champions, 21-18 12-21 22-24.
Also crashing out in the mixed doubles second round were fourth seed Nipitphon Phuangphuapet and Jongkolphan Kititharakul, who went down to Han Chengkai and Chen Lu of China 21-14 18-21 19-21.
In the women’s singles second round, fourth seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan dropped only 11 points on the way to routing Susanto Yulia Yosephin of Indonesia 21-5 21-6 in 30 minutes.
“I barely made any mistakes, which explains why I won so comfortably. ... I am a step closer to my dream of reaching the final again,” said the 2013 and 2016 women’s singles runner-up.
“It’s getting tougher as we are into the late stages of the tournament. The real challenge will be the semi-finals against Saina Nehwal [India],” said Busanan, the winner of Thailand Masters singles title at the same venue three months ago.
Rising star Pornpawee Chochuwong overcame a first game deficit to beat Yen Mei Ho of Malaysia 18-21 21-12 21-17 to reach her first quarter-final berth in the SCG Thailand Open.
“I blew away a lead in the first game as I went for my shots too much. But after that I tried to be more prudent with my shot selection. I’m so happy to reach my first quarter-final in this tournament as I lost the first round last year,” said the 19-year-old from Rayong province.