AUSTRALIAN OPEN R16 – Hypotenuse hopes pay off

Thailand pulled off two upsets in the second round of the Australian Open, sending off both an Olympic gold and a silver medallist. By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in […]

Thailand pulled off two upsets in the second round of the , sending off both an Olympic gold and a silver medallist.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

In the preview, we predicated that a Thai might make life difficult for Pusarla Venkata Sindhu. It turned out to be a different Thai player, the one who narrowly beat Chochuwong by three points in a rubber match.

Not only had the 2013 Australian Open runner-up Nitchaon Jindapol (pictured) done homework on Sindhu, there was also a plan of counter-attack, to which she and former mixed doubles world #1 coach Saralee Thoungthongkam stuck faithfully.

Firstly, Jindapol would be willing to traverse the full length backwards to return clears as well as the longest diagonal to retrieve drop-shots. That was a given.

Crucially, the Thai player made sure she could survive the majority of the three shots following a Sindhu smash which she sent back as flat as a mixed player would, and sometimes before Sindhu had recovered her posture.

For some variety, Jindapol also made the tall Sindhu reach long too by pushing shots up the line which risked going a bit long or a bit wide and this paid off more often than not.

On the graveyard Court 3, which had also seen the demise of Lee Yong Dae near midnight on Wednesday, World #29 Jindapol sidelined world #5 Sindhu.  It was only Jindapol’s second victory in their 7 meetings and it was the Thai’s first time winning in straight games, which she did 21-19, 21-18.

In fact, Thailand won the neck-and-neck battles on adjacent courts. World #23 Busanan Ongbamrungphan (pictured) accounted for London Olympic champion and world #12 Li Xuerui of China, 18-21, 22-20, 21-6.

Today, more than usual, Li Xuerui was very willing to move and was hitting crisp shuttles. Ongbamrungphan appeared cognizant that there were small opportunities that Li won’t cover the net too closely due to a lack of speed from the knee injury.

Both women decided to play a physical match. Li was on the verge of securing the match in straight games and spent all her hopes and energy attempting to.

Click here for complete Thursday results

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @ badzine.net