Ratchanok reigns in Spain, ends drought

Ratchanok reigns in Spain, ends drought

Star bags Madrid title in all-Thai showdown

Ratchanok Intanon, fourth left, and Supanida Katethong, third right, pose with their awards after their BWF Madrid Spain Masters 2024 women's singles final. (Photo supplied)
Ratchanok Intanon, fourth left, and Supanida Katethong, third right, pose with their awards after their BWF Madrid Spain Masters 2024 women's singles final. (Photo supplied)

Ratchanok Intanon claimed her first title in almost two years after winning the US$210,000 (7,560,000 baht) BWF Madrid Spain Masters on Sunday.

The Thai fourth seed cruised past compatriot and sixth seed Sapanida Katethong 21-12, 21-9 in the 30-minute decider at the BWF World Tour Super 300 event in the Spanish capital.

It was Ratchanok's first title since her victory at the Malaysia Open in July 2022.

The 29-year-old lost in the first round in her last three tournaments prior to the Madrid event and did not get past the quarter-final stage in eight events since the start of the 2024 season.

Ratchanok pocketed $15,750 (567,000 baht) winner's cheque while Supanida, who was also a finalist at the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters in February, received $7,980 (287,280 baht).

Thai badminton chief Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul congratulated Ratchanok on her victory.

"Congratulations to Ratchanok for winning her first title in almost two years. This win will surely give her a big boost ahead of some big tournaments coming up such as the Asia Championships next week, the Uber Cup later this month and also the Olympics Games in July," said Patama.

"May [Ratchanok's nickname] is still one of Thailand's biggest hopes at the Olympics in Paris this year.

"As for Supanida, I would like to encourage her to keep training hard and improving. She still has a chance to take the other women's singles spot in the Thai Olympic team. We will find out who will get that second ticket next week at the Asia Championships in Ningbo, China."

In the men's singles final on Sunday, second seed Loh Kean Yew of Singapore defeated eighth seed Toma Junior Popov of France 21-11, 15-21, 22-20.

Sixth seeds Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari of Indonesia rallied to defeated Cheng Xing and Zhang Chi of China 17-21, 21-12, 21-13 to claim the mixed doubles crown.

In women's doubles final, Rin Iwanaga and Kie Nakanishi of Japan rallied to beat Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma and Amallia Cahaya Pratiwi of Indonesia 12-21, 21-8, 21-16 and Sabar Karyaman Gutama and Moh Reza Pahlevi Isfahani of Indonesia edged Junaidi Arif and Roy King Yap of Malaysia 21-18, 17-21, 21-19 to take the men's doubles title.

After a week-long break, the players will be back in action next week at the Asia Championships in Ningbo, China. The April 8-14 tournament is the last event which offers valuable ranking points that will contribute towards the Olympic qualification process.

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