By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
After beating Russia 3-2 on Tuesday, Thailand faced Japan in the battle for the top spot of the group that ended in the Japanese favour 1-4.
Kittinupong Kerdren and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet lost the opening men’s doubles rubber to Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 14-21 13-21 before Thai No 2 Pornpawee Chohuwong saved three match points to upset world No 4 Akane Yamaguchi 9-21 21-14 22-20 in women’s singles.
The Thai resistance ended just there as they lost all remaining rubbers. Sitthikom Thammasin, despite a 17-13 lead in the first game, failed to capitalize on his opportunity and lost to world No 1 Kento Momota 19-21 10-21 in men’s singles.
World No 4 Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahasi sealed off the victory for Japan with a 21-17 21-17 win over Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai in women’s doubles,
In the meaningless mixed doubles, Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai lost to Yut a Watanabe and Arisa Higashino 11-21 14-21 as Japan surged to the top of the group with two wins, followed by Thailand at second with one win against one defeat. Russia, with two defeatsm were out of the tournament.
Thailand face South Korea today at 5pm in the knock-out stage. Thailand finished third in the 2017 Cup.