Ace Ratchanok schools sorry Sindhu

Ace Ratchanok schools sorry Sindhu

Dechapol and Sapsiree rally to seal last-4 spot

Mixed doubles pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh, right, and Sapsiree Taerattanachai play in the quarter-finals of the Toyota Thailand Open yesterday.
Mixed doubles pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh, right, and Sapsiree Taerattanachai play in the quarter-finals of the Toyota Thailand Open yesterday.

Women's singles star Ratchanok Intanon and mixed doubles duo Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai booked places in the semi-finals of the Toyota Thailand Open yesterday.

They are Thailand's only players remaining in the US$1 million tournament at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.

In yesterday's mixed doubles quarter-finals, top seeds Dechapol and Sapsiree came from behind to beat South Korea's Ko Sung-Hyun and Eom Hye-Won 27-29, 21-15, 21-9.

"We were trying not to defend too much. We tried to control every point and attack our opponents. In the first game, they kept things to their pace and had us moving a lot," said Sapsiree.

"In the second and third games, we had to make them move and then attack. I think our opponents played very well, but perhaps their power just wasn't enough to win today."

In today's semi-finals, they will meet India's Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, who upset fifth seeds Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying 18-21, 24-22, 22-20.

Dechapol and Sapsiree were the only Thai champions at last week's Yonex Thailand Open.

The Toyota Thailand Open is the second of three consecutive premier tournaments in Bangkok.

The 2020 season will conclude at next week's $1.5 million HSBC BWF World Tour Finals.

The Asian leg is being held at Muang Thong Thani without spectators and under strict Covid-19 protocols.

In yesterday's women's singles quarter-finals, fourth seed Ratchanok breezed past India's Pusarla V Sindhu 21-13, 21-9 in 39 minutes.

"I knew Sindhu would attack, so I tried to control the game and defend as much as possible. I think she may have been a bit nervous today and didn't play her usual style of play. I felt like I played how I wanted," said Ratchanok.

"I was really wanting to play in the semi-finals, and I'm really excited about tomorrow."

Women's singles fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.

The 2013 world champion, who lost in the quarter-finals last week, will meet top-ranked Tai Tzu-ying in the semi-finals after the Taiwanese rallied to beat eighth seed Michelle Li of Canada 18-21, 21-13, 21-11.

"In the opening game, I made a few errors. Then I tried to focus on the second and third game. I will now focus on my form of play and minimise my mistakes in the semi-finals," said Tai, who was beaten by Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the final last week.

Fifth seed Marin yesterday cruised past Turkey's Neslihan Yigit 21-6, 21-15.

In the last four, the Spaniard will take on South Korea's An Se-Young, who defeated Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-15, 21-18.

Marin beat An in the semi-finals on her way to winning the title last week.

In the women's doubles, Thailand's Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai, runners-up at the Yonex Thailand Open, lost to fourth seeds Kim So-Yeong and Kong Hee-Yong 21-17, 21-13.

In the men's singles, second seed Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan beat compatriot Wang Tzu-wei 21-16, 21-16.

Third seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark saw off India's Sameer Verma 21-13, 19-21, 22-20 in 81 minutes.

"That was a very close game and a very tough one as well. Sameer is a warrior. He fought really hard," Antonsen said.

Denmark's Vikor Axelsen, who won last week's Yonex Thailand Open, defeated Liew Darren of Malaysia 21-16, 21-15 to set up a meeting with Chou.

Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus, another Dane, edged past Hong Kong's Lee Cheuk Yiu 20-22, 21-12, 21-19, and will meet Antonsen in the semi-finals.

The Bangkok leg is missing Japanese and Chinese players due to coronavirus-related matters. The Toyota Thailand Open ends tomorrow.

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