Thailand make painful exit against Japan in quarters

Thailand make painful exit against Japan in quarters

Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong gestures after beating Japan's Akane Yamaguchi on Friday. (AFP photo)
Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong gestures after beating Japan's Akane Yamaguchi on Friday. (AFP photo)

Thailand bowed out in the quarter-finals of the BWF Sudirman Cup 2023 in Suzhou, China, on Friday.

The Thais went down to Japan 3-2 in their last-eight battle at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre.

Men's doubles pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Kittinupong Kedren lost to Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi 21-19, 10-21, 18-21 in the decisive fifth match as Japan joined South Korea in the last four.

Dechapol and mixed doubles partner Sapsiree Taerattanachai suffered a surprise defeat against Kyohei Yamashita and Naru Shinoya 21-19, 21-23, 13-21 in the opening match.

Pornpawee Chochuwong put Thailand on level terms with a hard-fought victory over Akane Yamaguchi, rallying from a game down to deny the top-ranked Japanese 19-21, 21-17, 21-11.

Thailand moved ahead again as Kunlavut Vitidsarn eased past Kodai Naraoka 21-12, 21-13 in the men's singles contest.

But women's doubles duo Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai fell to Japanese pair Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida 17-21, 22-20, 18-21 as the quarter-final tie went down to the wire.

Earlier, four-time champions South Korea beat Taiwan 3-1 to become the first team to make it to the semi-finals of the mixed team championship.

In the evening session, defending champions China, a record 12-time winners, were due to face Indonesia, the winners of the inaugural championship in 1989, while Denmark were scheduled to play Malaysia.

This year's edition of the biennial tournament has an extra edge because results count towards qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

China is making a return to global sports after over three years due to Covid-19 although the country hosted last year's Beijing Winter Olympics held in a virus-secure "bubble".

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