Dechapol/Sapsiree keep alive hope
Jongkolphan/Rawinda also reach semi-finals
published : 30 Jan 2021 at 07:22
newspaper section: Sports
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.