LAST YEAR’S finalists Dechapol Puavaranurkoh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai remained on track in their Asian Championship campaign but the other Thai contenders, including Ratchanok Intanon, bowed out in the second round in Wuhan on Thursday.
The eighth-seeded pair, who lost to arch-rivals Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong of China in the title match last year, rallied back from a game down to move past Wang Chi-Lin and Lee Chia-Shin of Taiwan 11-21 21-18 21-18 and book a spot in the mixed doubles quarter-finals.
“After we played their game to lose the opener, we adjusted our game plan to turn things around. We are happy at how things worked out,” said Sapsiree, who was forced to take a five-month break after sustaining a knee injury during the SEA Games last August.
“I started my comeback a few months ago and I’m now completely healed. I just need more matches to regain my confidence and my top form,” added the 26-year-old Sapsiree, who reached four BWF finals with Dechapol last year before the injury break.
“My goal is to reach the final again this year. But I won’t put pressure on myself as I’m just returning from injury,” added the only player in the world to win singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles titles on the BWF Tour.
Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai, seeded seventh, were the other Thai pair to survive yesterday’s action. They ousted Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram of India 21-8 21-9 in the women’s doubles.
The biggest Thai shock came with the exit of 2015 champion and world No 4 Ratchanok Intanon who was knocked out of the tournament by South Korean world No 15 Lee Jang Mi 21-19 17-21 15-21. Three other Thai ladies also failed to advance. Thai No 2 Nitchaon Jindapol went down to sixth seeded Chen Yufei of China 19-21 14-21 while Thai No 3 Pornpawee Chochuwong was also shown the exit, losing to Chinese eighth seeded He Bingjiao 10-21 12-21. Busanan Ongbamrungphan suffered her sixth staright defeat to seventh seeded Sung Ji Hyun 14-21 12-21.
In the men’s singles second round, Thai No 1 Khosit Phetpradap was toppled by seventh-seeded Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan 18-21 21-18 13-21.