Despite surrendering the country’s No 1 badminton ranking to Kantaphon Wangcharoen this week, Khosit Phetpradab brushed aside his disappointment to eye a semi-final spot of the Toyota Thailand Open, which began on Wednesday at the Nimibutr National Stadium in Bangkok.
World No 23 Khosit is expected to be surpassed by the in-form Kantaphon (ranked 27th as of Wednesday) when the new BWF rankings are updated on Thursday as the latter has been in impressive form. His fine run of results has included a stunning win over 2016 Olympic champion Chen Long of China in the World Tour Super 750 in Malaysia and reaching the quarter-finals in the Super 1000 event Indonesia over the fortnight.
“He has been in better form than I have recently, so I have to accept that,” said Khosit after he ousted Thomas Cup teammate Pannawit Thongnuam 21-12 21-15 in the first round on Wednesday.
“It’s normal that you cannot hold on to the top spot all the time. What I can do now is to focus on my matches in this tournament as I expect to reach at least the semi-final.”
Khosit faces a second-round clash on Thursday with Briton Rajeev Ouseph.
Kantaphon meanwhile celebrated his No 1 ranking with a sweet revenge over Malaysian arch-rival Leong Jun Hao as he saved a match point to pip the 2017 World Junior Championships silver medalist 21-19 9-21 24- 22 after 81 minutes of tussles. The Thai lost their previous encounter at this stadium during the Princess Cup semi-finals in January. Former Thai No 1 Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk also moved on after an upset win over eighth seeded Sameer Verma of Idia 21-18 21-16.
On the women’s side, Thai No 3 and world No 19 Pornpawee Chochuwong trounced Spain’s Beatriz Corrales 21-6 21-11 to set up another date with reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara, whom she just beat in the Malaysia Open two weeks ago.
“I’m quite confident with myself after I won the last time we played. But I won’t underestimate her as she may come up with a new game plan,” said the world No 19.
However, Thai No 2 Nitchaon Jindapol crashed out of the first round, losing to Cheah Soniia of Malaysia 21-16 21-14. Former finalist Busanan Ongbamrungphan advanced after Sabrina Jacquet of Switzerland retired with injury.
Elsewhere, world No 2 Akane Yamaguchi, a month after spearheading Japan to the Uber Cup title in Bangkok, beat China’s Gao Fangjie 21-14 21-14.
In the women’s doubles, fifth seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai, who won the Princess Cup, a Super 250 tournament, in Bangkok in January, beat Chinese pair Tang Jinhua and Yu Xiaohan 21-13 21-16.
But Tinn Isriyanet and Kittisak Namdash, who came to public attention by surprisingly winning the Princess Cup’s men’s doubles title, failed to repeat theirs heroics as they lost 21-18 21-12 to Indonesia’s Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Moh Reza Pahlevi Isfahani.