Doubles stars raise hopes of two titles

Doubles stars raise hopes of two titles

Dechapol, Sapsiree and Jongkolphan, Rawinda reach finals

Splendid fightback: Sapsiree Taerattanachai, (right) and Dechapol Puavaranukroh in action during their semi-final match.
Splendid fightback: Sapsiree Taerattanachai, (right) and Dechapol Puavaranukroh in action during their semi-final match.

Local stars will be aiming to complete a double on the final day of the US$1 million Yonex Thailand Open at Muang Thong Thani's Impact Arena on Sunday.

Mixed doubles hopefuls Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai and the women's doubles team of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai have earned title shots and are hoping to claim their first ever BWF World Tour Super 1000 crowns.

Top seeds Dechapol and Sapsiree Taerattanachai survived a thrilling semi-final against Seo Seung-Jae and Chae Yu-Jung of South Korea, fighting back to beat the fourth seeds 17-21, 21-17, 22-20 in a gruelling 75-minute encounter.

They will take on second seeds Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia in Sunday's mixed doubles decider, hoping to avenge their defeat to the Indonesians in the 2020 All England Open final last year.

Jordan and Oktavianti defeated Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue of France 21-16, 23-21 in the other semi-final match.

"I'm happy and so tired," said Sapsiree, who alongside Dechapol, claimed a silver medal at the 2019 world championships in Basel, Switzerland.

"We were too defensive in the first game, that's why we lost. We were down in the third game but we fought hard and got our tactics right. It took a lot out of us."

"It was a very tough match, but we are so delighted that we have made it into the final," added the 28-year-old.

In the women's doubles event, seventh seeds Jongkolphan and Rawinda overcame Korean fourth seeds Kim So-Yeong and Kong Hee-Yong 21-17, 17-21, 22-20 to advance to the final against fifth seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia.

Polii and Rahayu knocked out another Korean duo Lee So-Hee and Shin Seung-Chan, the third seeds, 21-19, 21-10.

"I feel so excited. We were leading 16-11 in the third game but they made it 16-all. We should have taken that game easier, but we pressured ourselves," said Jongkolphan.

"I'm not so happy with my performance, I could have done better. The Koreans are strong and hit hard, and we are not so strong, so we have to use skill, and not play hard with them. Tomorrow we expect another long match."

The women's singles title match will be a battle between top-ranked Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan and world No.6 Carolina Marin of Spain.

Fifth seed Marin defeated Korean rising star An Se-Young 21-18, 21-16 while top seed Tai, the All England champion, defeated Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark 21-8, 23-21.

"Today I feel much happier than yesterday. I really performed well against An Se-Young," said Marin, the reigning Olympic champion.

"She's really good at the moment, she's a player for the future for sure, and I feel very happy because I was really focused on court. I didn't feel any negative situation for myself, and I think if I play like this, I'm so ready for tomorrow."

Meanwhile, seventh seed Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong upset second seed Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 in the first match of the men's singles semi-finals last night.

The world No.8 player will meet the winner of the second semi-final between fourth seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and fifth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia.

Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia will face sixth seeds Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin of Taiwan in the men's doubles final.

The Yonex Thailand Open is one of the three consecutive tournaments in the Asian leg in Bangkok.

It will be followed by the Toyota Thailand Open from Jan 19-24 and the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 from Jan 27-31.

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