Dechapol/Sapsiree keep alive hope
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Dechapol/Sapsiree keep alive hope

Jongkolphan/Rawinda also reach semi-finals

Thai women's doubles pair Jongkolphan Kititharakul, left, and Rawinda Prajongjai react during their match against Linda Elfer and Isabel Herttrich of Germany at Muang Thong Thani on Friay.
Thai women's doubles pair Jongkolphan Kititharakul, left, and Rawinda Prajongjai react during their match against Linda Elfer and Isabel Herttrich of Germany at Muang Thong Thani on Friay.

Mixed doubles pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerat­tanachai and women's doubles duo Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai won their last group matches yesterday to advance to the semi-finals of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 yesterday.

They join Pornpawee Chochuwong, their Thai compatriot in the women's singles, in today's semi-finals of the US$1.5 million tournament at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.

However, women's world No.5 Ratchanok Intanon, who had lost to Pornpawee, failed to get past the group stage after losing to top-ranked Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan 25-23, 12-21, 21-9 in Group B.

The season-ending World Tour Finals is the third and last tournament in three successive weeks in the Asian leg in Bangkok held behind closed doors and under strict Covid-19 protocols.

In Friday's mixed doubles, Dechapol and Sapsiree defeated England's Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith 21-12, 21-11 to finish second in Group A behind South Koreans Seo Seung-Jae/Chae Yoo-Jung.

The win keeps alive the Thai pair's ambition of claiming a hat-trick of titles in the Asian leg.

Mixed doubles duo Dechapol Puavaranukroh, left, and Sapsiree Taerat­tanachai.

France's Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue and Malaysia's Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai were the top two pairs in Group B.

Dechapol and Sapsiree were drawn to meet the French duo in the semi-finals.

In the women's doubles, Jongkolphan and Rawinda defeated Linda Elfer/Isabel Herttrich of Germany 21-13, 21-14 in their final Group B match to advance to the semi-finals.

"We're happy to be in the semi-finals. We fought today because in every match we want to show what we can do. We will prepare ourselves both mentally and physically for the next round," said Jongkolphan.

Rawinda added: "I don't feel very happy about my performance. The Germans like to play a soft game, but we're not ready to play like that. I think I took it easy today to not put too much pressure on myself."

The Thais, who had two wins and one loss, finished second in Group B behind South Koreans Kim So-Yeong and Kong Hee-Yong.

In Group A, Malaysia's Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean beat Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia 21-13, 21-17 to progress to the semi-finals along with South Korea's Lee So-Hee/Shin Seung-Chan.

In the last four, Jongkolphan and Rawinda were drawn to face Kim and Kong, while Chow and Lee are up against Lee and Shin.

In the women's singles, Ratchanok suffered back-to-back losses to Tai, who also came from behind to finish off the Thai last week.

"I was very much disappointed that I could not make it to the semi-final round, but I will learn from my mistakes today and come back stronger on the court," said Ratchanok.

Pornpawee, who had defeated Tai and Ratchanok, fell to India's Pusarla V Sindhu 21-18, 21-15 in Group B.

However, it was a meaningless encounter as Pornpawee had already secured a last-four berth and Sindhu had been eliminated.

"I have to admit that Sindhu had planned a perfect game against me. I did my best, but it was not good enough," said Pornpawee.

In Group A, An Se-Young of South Korea edged past Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain 21-16, 14-21, 21-19 in a meaningless match as both had already booked places in the semi-finals.

"I'm really happy as I have shed a lot of tears here. It's a good feeling and I can't describe it in words," said An, 18.

Marin said: "I didn't want to force myself today. My performance was okay. I played like it was a training session. I lost but I don't care about the result."

In the semi-finals, Marin takes on Pornpawee and Tai meets An.

In the men's semi-finals, Denmark's Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen face Taiwan's Chou Tien-chen and Wang Tzu-wei respectively.

The event ends tomorrow.

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