Ratchnakok off to a strong start in Jakarta

sports January 25, 2018 01:00

By The Nation

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Fresh from claiming her seventh World Tour Super 500 title in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, Ratchanok Intanon kept her winning streak going, toppling American Beiwen Zhang 21-7 21-13 in the first round of the Daihatsu Indonesia Masters in Jakarta yesterday.

Ratchanok, in her second event of the season, went against the world No 11 with a 2-0 head-to-head record and with five match wins from the Malaysia Masters.

Ratchanok started sluggishly and fell behind at 5-6. But once she found her momentum, she dictated play with impressive shot selections to reel off 14 points in a row for a huge lead at 19-6.

The Thai allowed her opponent only one more point before wrapping up the game easily at 21-7 in just 11 minutes.

After slowing the American to lead 11-10 at the interval, Ratchanok raised her level and cleared her first hurdle easily in just 23 minutes.

Also moving forward was Thai No 2 and world No 12 Nitchaon Jindapol, winner of the Thailand Masters a fortnight ago. She recovered from a second-game lapse to beat world No 13 Sayaka Sato of Japan 22-20 12-21 21-9. The Phuket-based player finally returned the favour to the Japanese for the first time in five years after two straight defeats at the Thailand Open in 2015 and Indonesia Open last June.

Nitchaon will play world No 6 Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea, a 21-17 21-17 winner over Thai No 3 Busanan Ongbamrungphan.

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