Ratchanok bounced from Thailand Open
Korean teen star An Se-young ousts former world champion in straight sets
published : 15 Jan 2021 at 21:05
Seventh-seeded An Se-young of South Korea defeated hometown favorite Ratchanok Intanon in straight sets on Friday, halting the former world champion’s progress to the semi-finals of the Thailand Open badminton tournament.
The fourth-seeded Thai star was no match for the 18-year-old, who prevailed in the first match after a nail-biting 40-shot rally en route to the 22-20, 21-12 victory at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani.
“Every shot was incredible and she won on her own game,” said 25-year-old Ratchanok, who noted her opponent had more speed than when they had played before.
The South Korean teen prodigy, who in 2019 was named the sport’s Most Promising Player, will face Spain’s Carolina Marin, an Olympic and World champion who snatched victory from Thailand’s Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-16.
Meanwhile, men’s world number two Chou Tien-chen marched into the semi-finals, coming from behind to beat younger opponent Lee Zii Jia 21-17, 21-15.
Second-seeded Chou will meet eighth ranked Angus Ng, ranked eighth in the world in the semis. Ng handily beat Hong Kong teammate Lee Cheuk-yiu 21-17, 21-12.
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen also sailed through his game against Indonesian Jonatan Christie. Axelsen, the fourth seed, will face another Indonesian, sixth-ranked Anthony Ginting.
The Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive tournaments in Bangkok culminating in the World Tour Finals from Jan 27.
The athletes — flown in a week before the start for quarantine and testing — are competing behind closed doors as a virus precaution.
On Wednesday, a German coach tested positive for the virus but his players were allowed to continue competing.
The test result, however, prompted Hong Kong mixed doubles players Tse Ying-suet and Tang Chun-man to pull out of their next match against the German team.
The Badminton World Federation said it respected the Hong Kong’s team decision but defended allowing the Germans continue, saying all players had tested negative.