Ratchanok's dreams dashed
Plucky Okuhara rallies to beat Thai and sets up showdown with Sindhu; Momota in final
published : 25 Aug 2019 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Ratchanok Intanon bowed out of the semi-finals in the BWF World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, on Saturday.
In a battle of former champions, the Thai star lost to Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-17, 18-21, 15-21 in a gripping women's singles match at St Jakobshalle.
Ratchanok won the world title in 2013 at the age of 18, becoming the youngest ever singles champion.
Third seed Okuhara will be bidding to win her second world title in a repeat of the 2017 championship match against fifth seed Pusarla V Sindhu of India on Sunday.
Sindhu will be hoping for a third time lucky after losing in the final in the last two championships.
Apart from her 2017 loss to Okuhara, Sindhu was beaten by Carolina Marin of Spain last year.
The Indian star also won back-to-back bronzes in 2013 and 2014.
Sindhu eased past fourth seed Chen Yufei of China 21-7, 21-14 in the first semi-final yesterday.
Meanwhile, defending champion Kento Momota will be aiming for his second straight gold medal after advancing to the men's singles decider.
The top-ranked Japanese beat B Sai Praneeth of India 21-13, 21-8 in the last four yesterday.
Momota will play either fifth seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark or 12th seed Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand.
World No.15 Kantaphon upset second seed Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan 21-16, 11-21, 21-14 in the quarter-finals on Friday. Chou won the Thailand Open in Bangkok early this month.
Mixed doubles stars Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai were scheduled to play second seeds Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongqing of China late Saturday night.
It is the first time Thai shuttlers are assured of at least bronze medals in three events at the world championships.
Earlier, second seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota of Japan advanced to the women's doubles final after beating seventh seeds Du Yue and Lin Yinhui of China 21-11, 21-17.
They will meet the winners of the second semi-final match between top seeds and defending champions Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara of Japan and fifth seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia.