Aimsaards fly into SF with stunning win

Aimsaards fly into SF with stunning win

Ratchanok bows out after her loss to Tai

Benyapa Aimsaard, left, and Nuntakarn Aimsaard celebrate a point against Jeong Na-Eun and Kim Hye-Jeong of South Korea yesterday.
Benyapa Aimsaard, left, and Nuntakarn Aimsaard celebrate a point against Jeong Na-Eun and Kim Hye-Jeong of South Korea yesterday.

Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard defeated Jeong Na-Eun and Kim Hye-Jeong of South Korea to book their place in the women's doubles semi-finals of the US$1.5 million (approx 54 million baht) HSBC BWF World Tour Finals at Bangkok's Nimibutr Stadium yesterday.

The Aimsaard sisters, who are seeded third this week, combined to stun the top-seeded Koreans 21-15, 21-8 in just 34 minutes to make their first semi-final at the season-ending tournament.

The victory saw them top Group A with Jeong and Kim scraping through in second place with superior games won and lost over Thailand's Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.

Jongkolphan and Rawinda beat Vivian Hoo and Lim Chiew Sien of Malaysia 21-10, 21-17 in their final match but their effort fell short following their defeat to the Koreans on Wednesday.

"I really didn't expect to reach the semi-finals, and this is our first ever HSBC BWF World Tour Finals appearance," said Nuntakarn, 23.

"I'm feeling very excited and very happy at the moment. Most players walk onto court with their playing partners, but the difference here is I enter a match with my sister."

In the women's double Group B, both Chinese pairs progressed to the semis as Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan defeated Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti of Indonesia 21-16 21-16, while Zhang Shuxian and Zheng Yu beat Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan of Malaysia 21-19 20-22 21-9.

In the mixed doubles, two-time defending champions Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand completed a hat-trick of wins when they beat China's Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping 23-21, 21-13 in Group B.

In the other group match, Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing of Malaysia beat winless Thais Supak Jomkoh and Supissara Paewsampran 21-17, 22-20.

Dechapol and Sapsiree advanced as group winners along with the Malaysian pair.

In the women's singles event, Busanan Ongbamrungphan ended her campaign without a win when she lost to China's He Bingjiao 8-21, 22-20, 21-13 in Group B.

The Chinese star advanced to the semi-finals after winning all three matches.

Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan joined He in the last four after beating Thai ace Ratchanok Intanon in their final Group B match 21-10, 12-21, 21-7 last night.

In Group A, China's Chen Yufei beat An Se-Young of South Korea 21-16, 21-12 while Japan's Akane Yamaguchi edged Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia 21-15, 13-21, 21-18.

Both winners progressed to today's semi-finals.

In the men's singles, holder Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and Kodai Naraoka of Japan qualified from Group A.

Unbeaten Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie, both from Indonesia, qualified as Group B winner and runner-up respectively.

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