SINGAPORE OPEN 2016 R16 – Porntip ousts two-time champion

Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk came back from the brink to beat two-time winner Wang Yihan, while Chinese youngsters claimed most other upsets on Day 3 of the Singapore Open. By Seria […]

Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk came back from the brink to beat two-time winner Wang Yihan, while Chinese youngsters claimed most other upsets on Day 3 of the .

By Seria Rusli, live in Singapore, and Don Hearn

Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (pictured) has spent several months within striking distance of the top 16 but it was on Thursday at the Singapore Open that the 24-year-old Thai finally saw her chance to strike.  Her target was China’s Wang Yihan, a two-time champion in Singapore who has an Olympic qualification battle of her own going on, but one of a very different nature.

Porntip was dominated by the former champion in the first game but then blew several chances to even the score in the second and ended up having to save one match point before snatching the second game and going on to win the match.

The Thai needs to be in the world’s top 16 as of May 4th if she wants to be eligible to represent Thailand in Rio alongside Ratchanok Intanon, who is also incidentally Porntip’s opponent in the Singapore quarter-finals.

“I think that my drop was good and I was able to control the game and that is why I was able to make today my day,” said Porntip after her victory.  “In the first game, she was able to control me at the back of the court and I was not able to attack – that is why I could not play well. But after changing sides, the draft made it easier for me to attack faster.

Asked whether the chance to qualify for the Olympics were a source of motivation for her, the Thai responded: Actually I just think of the game and not think of the Olympics. If I can go to the Olympics then I’ll just go.  If not, then I will just think that I tried my best already.”

China, by contrast, already has three shuttlers in the top 16 but while Wang Yihan will get her last chance to outshine her top two competitors at the Badminton Asia Championships in two weeks, two of her younger team-mates are also quietly making their way up the rankings by reaching the Singapore quarter-finals.

Defending champion Sun Yu (pictured above, left) toppled the highest of this week’s unlucky seeds so far when she beat All England winner Nozomi Okuhara in straight games.  Youth Olympic gold medallist He Bingjiao took much longer but still prevailed over India’s P. V. Sindhu.

“My strategy was to used more low shots as Sun Yu is a very tall player,” said Nozomi Okuhara (pictured above, right) after losing her second round match.  “However, Sun Yu was ready for that strategy so it was a little difficult to beat her. I feel that it was not because of the height but because the opponent was prepared for it.

“Even though I lost the match, I feel that it was okay because it was the whole process that mattered. I had a knee injury so I’m trying to fix it and improve my mobility. I do feel a little disappointed but it’s not all because of losing to Sun Yu. I feel it’s a next step forward and will continue to practice hard back in Japan and do better next time.”

Chinese youngsters got in on the act in doubles as well.  Unlike last week, when the Malaysia Open men’s doubles quarter-finals were entirely populated with the top 8 seeds, this week has already seen several high-profile exits.  After last week’s winners Kim/Kim were beaten on Wednesday, their compatriots Ko/Shin followed early in the day on Thursday.

The narrowest upset came when former World Junior Champions Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (pictured bottom) got the better of world #7 Endo/Hayakawa of Japan.  China and Japan were also involved – as were some other former World Junior Champions – when the highest-seeded doubles pair fell on Thursday.  Kenta Kazuno and Ayane Kurihara (pictured right) took down #2 seeds Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin in three close games.

Click here for complete Thursday results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @