• Nitchaon Jindapol

Comeback queens feel the Force, soar into final

sports January 14, 2018 01:00

By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
The Nation

Fans rewarded with double home triumph in Thailand Masters.

Top seed Nitchaon Jindapol and third seeded Pornpawee Chochuwong have set up an all-Thai women’s singles final showdown after hard-fought wins in the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters on Saturday.

Backed by enthusiastic support from about 300 Royal Thai Air Force officers at the Nimibutr National Stadium, Pornpawee shrugged off an erratic display in the first game to beat Selvaduray Kisona of Malaysia 14-21 21-9 21-11.

Nitchaon then also recovered from losing the first game to edge past fourth seed Soniia Cheah of Malaysia 16-21 21-15 21-17.

“Even though I lost the first game, I had to fight back to win this match as we play at home and I can’t let the fans down. I’m so happy to play the final with Pornpawee as we have always trained together,” said Nitchaon after reaching her first final on home soil.

Pornpawee, in her second final after the Malaysian Open last year, beat Nitchaon in the semi-finals on her way to winning the National Championships last month.

“I really want to win because I never won at this level before. I may beat her before but this time it will be different. It comes down to who has a better day tomorrow,” said the 19-year-old, who set up the all Thai affair for the first time in the tournament’s history.

Thailand also have representatives in today’s mixed doubles after Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Puttita

Supajiraku beat Tang Jie Chen and Yen Wei Peck of Malaysia 21-19 21-13 to reach their first final at World Grand Prix Gold level. Dechapol in fact reached the final with Sapsiree Taerattanachai last but teamed up with Puttita in October after Sapsiree was sidelined with a knee injury.

“It’s good to be in the final again. The crowds really motivated us to try our best. But the final will be the biggest test,” said Dechapol, who meets 2016 Rio Olympic Games silver medalists Chan Peng Soon and Liu Ying Goh of Malaysia on Sundayafternoon. The Malaysian team stopped the run of Nipitphon Phuangphuapet and Jongkolphan Kititharakul 21-15 21-11 in the other semi-final.

In women’s doubles, top seeded Jongkophan and Rawinda Prajongjai outlast Chow Wei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean of Malaysia 18-21 21-13 21-17 to reach their fifth World Grand Prix Gold final. They will play Anggia Awanda and Ni Istarani of Indonesia in the final.

Thailand have players in four out of five finals. Among them were unfancied Tinn Isriyanet and Kittisak Namdash who staged the biggest upset in their badminton career as they stunned 2016 Olympic Games silver medalists Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia 21-15 22-20 for their first World Grand Prix Gold final.