Tough openers for Thai singles stars
Second Asian swing tourney starts on Tuesday
published : 19 Jan 2021 at 09:00
newspaper section: Sports
The Toyota Thailand Open, the second of three consecutive premier tournaments in the Asian leg in Bangkok, starts today as organisers hailed the first week as a success.
The opening event, the Yonex Thailand Open, ended on Sunday with Thailand's mixed doubles duo Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai claiming their maiden title in a Super 1000 tournament.
Like last week's event, the Toyota Thailand Open is a Super 1000 tournament and offers a total purse of US$1 million.
The 2020 season will conclude at next week's $1.5 million HSBC BWF World Tour Finals.
The Asian leg is being held at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani without spectators and under strict Covid-19 protocols.
"The Yonex Thailand Open was a success," said Patama Leeswadtrakul, president of the Badminton Association of Thailand (BAT).
Khunying Patama praised the government and its agencies for their support in bringing the three tournaments to Thailand and their measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
She thanked Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who oversees the country's sporting matters, as well as the Sports Authority of Thailand, National Sports Development Fund, and health officials.
The Yonex Thailand Open became successful mainly because of their hard work, she said.
Several players heaped praise on Thailand and the organisers including Olympic champion Carolina Marin who won the women's singles title on Sunday.
"Thank you very much to the BWF [Badminton World Federation] and to Thailand and all the organisers," Marin was quoted as saying in an article in the BWF's official webstie www.bwfbadminton.com.
"Thanks to them, we could start to play tournaments in this difficult time."
The same article said as the first tournament of a new-look season ended successfully, the badminton world can look ahead with excitement at the two remaining events in the Asian leg and the rest of the season.
"The protocols under which the Asian leg is being held herald the new normal for the foreseeable future," it said.
"The safety measures were comprehensive and extended on to on-court gestures, such as avoiding the customary handshake, and into the prize presentation."
Meanwhile, mixed doubles top seeds Dechapol and Sapsiree will begin their chase for back-to-back titles on Tuesday against Dutch duo Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek.
In the women's singles first round on Tuesday, fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon faces India's Saina Nehwal.
The Thai will try to bounce back from her disappointing run at the Yonex Thailand Open where she lost to South Korean teenager An Se-Young in the quarter-finals.
Compatriot Busanan Ongbamrungphan is also up against an Indian player in sixth-seeded PV Sindhu.
Thailand's Supinda Ketethong takes on top-ranked Tai Tzu-ying, who was beaten by Marin in the final on Sunday.
In the men's singles, Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk meets third seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark.
"It is never easy at this level," Patama said. "But our players are determined to become successful on home soil."
The Asian leg is missing players from Japan and China due to coronavirus-related issues.