By The Nation
Twelve months after winning her last title which happened at this Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, the 23-year-old world No 8 appeared to have a cruise to victory, building a 21-9 19-13 lead over the sixth-ranked Spaniard before the latter staged a gutsy fightback.
The left-handed Marin, out of no where, reeled off seven points in a row to surge ahead at 20-19 by utilising well-placed shots and at the same time benefitted by a brief bout of nerves from the Thai.
The defending champion had a Lady of Luck on her side when a shot hit the tap of the net to set up an easy point for her to smash for 20 all. She regained the lead to be on the threshold of victory again with impressive rallies before Marin gave in eventually by netting a forehand smash.
“I’m so glad to successfully defend my title,” said Ratchanok who has never dropped a game in all five rounds. “I’m happy with the way I have been performing this week. In the final although there was some moment that I lost my focus I still fought my way back to close out the match,” added Ratchanok in her first BWF event of the year after taking part in the University Games in Unbon Ratchathani and just flew to KL on Tuesday.
“This is such a great way to start the year. I hope to continue this form going to Indonesia next week,” added Ratchanok who is committed to the Indonesia Masters which begins in Jakarta on Tuesday. She reached the semi-final before losing to Saina Nehwal of India 21-19 21-19 last year.
Ratchanok has won a total 17 titles on the BWF World Tour level and BWF sanctioned events including the World Championships in 2013 and Asian Championshipsin 2015.
Meanwhile in mixed doubles final, Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Terattanachai had to settle as runners-up again, losing to world No 3 and top seeded Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino of Japan 21-18 21-18. They also lost the final to Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia in the Thailand Masterslast Sunday.
In men’s singles, Son Wan Ho of South Korea lifted up his ninth BWF title after he upset Olympic gold medalist Chen Long of China 21-17 21-19.