Doubles title a bright spot for Thais

Doubles title a bright spot for Thais

Dechapol, Sapsiree live up to their billing

Dechapol Puavaranukroh (left) and Sapsiree Taerattanachai pose with their mixed doubles gold medals and trophies.
Dechapol Puavaranukroh (left) and Sapsiree Taerattanachai pose with their mixed doubles gold medals and trophies.

Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai claimed their maiden BWF World Tour Super 1000 title after winning the US$1 million Yonex Thailand Open at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani, on Sunday.

The top-seeded world No.3 pair defeated arch-rivals Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia in the mixed doubles final 21-3, 20-22, 21-18 in just under an hour, avenging their loss in the 2020 All England Open final last year.

It was the pair's fifth career title after their triumphs in the 2017 Swiss Open (a Grand Prix Gold event), the 2019 Macau Open (Super 300), the Korea Open and the Singapore Open (both Super 500).

"We are very happy to have won the title and make the Thai people proud," said Sapsiree.

"We set a very high goal for ourselves coming into this tournament and we are proud to have accomplished it. We were very focused from the beginning and that's how we won the opening game easily."

"We are also thankful to the Thai authorities and the Badminton Association of Thailand [BAT] for setting up this event and allowing people to enjoy the competition," added the 28-year-old star.

However, Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai were unable to complete a double for the Thai contingent after the seventh seeds lost to Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu, the fifth seeded duo from Indonesia, 15-21, 12-21.

"We did not play what we had planned. We played their game style not ours, so it was difficult to fight back," said Rawinda.

"It means so much to us to be in the final. It is the first time Thailand has hosted a Super 1000 tournament. We are very proud [of our achievements] this week."

Jongkolphan added, "We have to accept that they had prepared very well. They controlled us and pressured us.

Carolina Marin celebrates after beating Tai Tzu-ying in the women's singles final. PR

"We have a lot of homework to do for next week."

With her victory on Sunday, Polii became the first player to win four Thailand Opens. It was also Polii and Rahayu's third Thailand Open together.

A delighted Polii told the media, "It's unbelievable for both of us and we want to thank God that we had the opportunity to be here and win this championship."

"We're speechless. Just speechless," added Rahayu.

It was a disappointing end to the campaign for the Thais, who had hoped to make a big impact in the Super 1000 event after players from both China and Japan had earlier pulled out due to coronavirus restrictions.

Meanwhile, fifth seed Carolina Marin upset top seed Tai Tzu-ying to capture the women's singles crown.

The Spanish world No.6 needed just 42 minutes to dispose of the top-ranked Taiwanese in the women's singles decider, winning 21-9, 21-16.

"I want to say thank you to the BWF and to Thailand and all the organisers, thanks to them we could start to play tournaments in this difficult time during the pandemic," said Marin.

Men's singles champion Viktor Axelsen poses with his trophy and winner's cheque.

"I feel really happy. I had a difficult year personally in 2020, but I recovered well."

Tai said, "I was not comfortable today. It is very unfortunate that I could not perform as I expected."

The men's singles crown went to fourth seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, who defeated seventh seed Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong 21-14, 21-14.

"It was a tough game for us. We've used a lot of energy this week, physically and mentally. So I knew I had to be 110 percent going into the final. And having not played for so long, really happy that I managed to win," said Axelsen.

"There was pressure, because you're not really sure where you are physically and mentally, and also playing-wise, so it was nice for me to get tested here and to be in different situations where you have to step up, and I'm proud that I managed to do so."

Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin, the sixth seeded pair from Taiwan, took the men's doubles title following a thrilling 21-16, 21-23, 21-19 win over Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia.

The Toyota Thailand Open, the second event in the Asian leg of the BWF World Tour, begins tomorrow at the same venue. The season will conclude with the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 from Jan 27-31.

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