Aimsaard sisters cruise into BWF final

Aimsaard sisters cruise into BWF final

Mixed doubles stars Dechapol and Sapsiree also advance at season-ending Bangkok tournament

Thailand’s Nuntakarn Aimsaard hits a return as partner Benyapa looks on during their women’s doubles semi-final match against Jeong Na-eun and Kim Hye-jeong at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals badminton tournament at Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok on Saturday. (AFP Photo)
Thailand’s Nuntakarn Aimsaard hits a return as partner Benyapa looks on during their women’s doubles semi-final match against Jeong Na-eun and Kim Hye-jeong at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals badminton tournament at Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok on Saturday. (AFP Photo)

Sisters Benyapa and Nuntakarn Aimsaard will carry Thailand’s badminton hopes into the championship match at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals on Sunday after defeating their Korean rivals for a second consecutive day on Saturday at Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok.

The third-seeded Thai duo defeated top seeds Jeong Na-eun and Kim Hye-jeong 22-20, 21-15, a day after a straight-sets win over the same pair in the final women’s doubles group stage match at the US$1.5-million season-ending tournament.

Benyapa and Nuntakarn on Sunday will face Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan of China, who defeated compatriots Zhang Chu Xian and Zheng Yu 21-19, 21-13 in Saturday’s other semi-final.

Also advancing to the finals were mixed doubles stars Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai. The two-time defending champions on Saturday evening defeated Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari of Indonesia 24-22, 16-21, 21-14.

They will meet Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong in Sunday’s final. The Chinese pair defeated Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pen Jing of Malaysia 21-10, 21-15.

In the women’s singles, world champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan booked her ticket to the last stage, crushing Olympic gold medallist Chen Yufei.

The semi-final on Saturday was a rematch of Thursday’s group stage encounter when Chen beat Yamaguchi in straight sets.

On Sunday, Yamaguchi will play Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan, who quickly dispensed with He Bing Jiao in the other semi-final.

In the men’s singles, world number one Viktor Axelsen put Friday’s rare loss behind him in a three-set victory over Japan’s Kodai Naraoka. The Dane will face Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting, who defeated Jonatan Christie, in Sunday’s championship match.

The Badminton World Federation shifted its $1.5 million flagship event to Bangkok after original host China dropped the tournament due to its tough Covid restrictions.


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