NATIONAL BADMINTON players, including Ratchanok Intanon and Busanan Ongbumrungphan, were jet-lagged after a long flight from Australia on Monday night but found the energy to march into the last-16 in the SCG Thailand Open at the Nimibutr National Stadium yesterday.
After making history by reaching the Sudirman Cup semi-final for the first time in Gold Coast on Saturday, the national badminton squad returned home exhausted but fought gamely in the matches they were involved in yesterday.
2013 champion Ratchanok shrugged off some rusty play to beat Ritupama Das of India 21-19 21-18 while world No 12 Busanan, who lifted her first home title in February in the same stadium, brushed aside Rusydina Antardayu Riodingin of Indonesia |21-8 21-9 in the women’s first round.
“It was a good to have an easy first-round match. It really helps your confidence. To be honest, I’m not as physically strong as I was in February as I just got back from Australia,” said Busanan, who finished runner-up here in 2013 and 2016.
“Playing a series of events really takes a toll on the body. I was really fit during the Thailand Masters as I was still fresh from the off-season,” said Busanan, who has won six straight matches in the stadium since the Thailand Masters.
She will face Susanto Yulia Yosephin of Indonesia, a 21-14 21-12 winner over Reshma Karthik of India, in today’s second round.
“I’m a two-time finalist and I look forward to doing even better this time. Everybody wants to win this tournament. It depends on who plays better badminton this week,” said the 21-year-old from Nakhon Sawan.
Thai No 3 Nitchaon Jindapol survived a scare from Yvonne Li of Belgium before advancing with a |22-20 20-26 win while rising star Pornpawee Chochuwong, seeded sixth, beat compatriot Chananchida Jucharoen 21-9 21-12.
In the men’s singles second round, Thai No 2 Khosit Phetpradab overcame fatigue to beat Indonesia’s Fikri Ihsandi Hadmadi 22-20 21-14.
“It wasn’t a great match. I’m tired from the Sudirman Cup exertions. I just tried to hang in there and somehow found a way out to score the win,” said the 22-year-old, who reached the third round here for the first time.
Joining the Ratchaburi-based player in the round of 16 was Thai No 3 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, who thrashed Shreyansh Jaiswal of India 21-9 21-18. Thailand Masters finalist and former world junior No 1 Kantaphon Wangcharoen upset 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist and eighth seed Wei Nan of Hong Kong 23-21 13-21 23-21.
“I went into the match as the underdog as I lost to him before. I was fighting for every point even when I was down 15-19 in the final game,” said the 18-year-old Kantaphon who fought off a match point at 19-20.
“I thought I was losing but I tried to put up a fight. The crowd really pushed me to maximize my effort out there. I didn’t want to let them down,” added the 101st ranked Thai who will play Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia, the 13th seed, on Thursday.
“He has more experience than I do. I will try to give it a fight like today. But I don’t want to expect too much as it will give me pressure. When I set my hope to high, I tend to play poorly,” Kanaphon said.
Pannawit Thongnuam, the sweetheart of Ratchanok Intanon, reached the third round of the SCG Thailand Open for the first time following a 21-13 21-13 win over Riyanto Subagja of Indonesia 21-13 21-13. The 21-year-old has never lost to anyone for eight consecutive matches.