THAILAND OPEN 2016 SF – Puttita and more on track for first titles

Thai shuttlers are on track for three titles at the Thailand Open as Puttita Supajirakul is one of several looking for a first Grand Prix Gold title. By Don Hearn.  […]

Thai shuttlers are on track for three titles at the as Puttita Supajirakul is one of several looking for a first Gold title.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Both members of the world’s 15th-ranked women’s doubles pair, Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (pictured), had two chances to reach finals of the 2016 Thailand Open.  They started off the afternoon at Nimibutr Stadium with what would be the most convincing win on semi-finals day.

The two Thai ladies confirmed their top seeded status by winning in straight games over Japan’s Miki Kashihara and Miyuki Kato.  Meanwhile, their opponents in Sunday’s final are the winners of the other Japan-Thailand semi-final showdown.  New Zealand Open runners-up Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara prevented an all-Thailand final by beating Jongkolphan Kititharakul / Rawinda Prajongjai, who were second best a the most recent Grand Prix Gold event in Indonesia.

The women’s doubles champion will thus be a first-time Grand Prix Gold winner, although Taerattanachai already has two such titles to her name, on in singles and a doubles title with a previous partner.

Unfortunately for the Thais, neither player could come out on top in mixed doubles.  Both semi-finals went to three games but neither finished in favour of the home team.

The first was a match-up between the runners-up of the first two Grand Prix Gold events of the year.  Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing (pictured) may have picked up their first title together at the recent Vietnam Open Grand Prix but they are hoping for fourth time lucky on Sunday in their quest to win at the Grand Prix Gold level.

The first game saw Taerattanachai and partner Dechapol Puavaranukroh save three game points before narrowly taking a one-game lead.  After evening the match at one game apiece, the Malaysians got out to a commanding start in the decider and led 11-6 at the interval.

After the change of ends, Puavaranukroh took control and brought the Thais to within 2 but Tan Kian Meng kept up his steep, powerful smashing and kept his opponents scrambling with sharp backhand drives.  The Malaysians had no trouble opening up the margin again and secured a spot in their fourth Grand Prix Gold final this year.

Their opponents will be Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet.  This new pair beat the even newer pairing of Supajirakul and Supak Jomkoh.

Like the women’s doubles, women’s singles will feature a second consecutive Japan-Thailand matchup.  Aya Ohori (pictured) beat out Nitchaon Jindapon in three rather one-sided games.  Ohori had one Grand Prix title to her name but will get her second chance this year to upgrade to a Grand Prix Gold.

The other women’s singles semi-final featured a rematch of the Indonesia Masters final, between Busanan Ongbamrungphan and Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei.  The 16-year-old Goh did slightly better this time around, pushing into extra points in the opening game, but still went down in two, allowing the Thai to play in her second straight Grand Prix Gold final.

Indonesians will be the favourites in both men’s finals.  In doubles 2015 Indonesia Masters winners Berry Angriawan / Rian Agung Saputro will attempt to block 2012 World Junior Championship runners-up Takuto Inoue / Yuki Kaneko (pictured bottom) from taking their first major title.

In singles, Singapore Open winner Sony Dwi Kuncoro will attempt to become the only repeat champion of this 2016 Thailand Open.  Kuncoro last won this event in 2012, when he scored a straight-game victory in the semis against the great Lin Dan.  This time, the Indonesian had to fight through three games to beat Asian Youth Games silver medallist Lee Cheuk Yiu (pictured).

Kuncoro will face Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in the final.  The Thai will be competing in his fourth Grand Prix Gold final.  His biggest titles to date have been in the Universiade as SEA Games but he has yet to win a Grand Prix event.

Men’s doubles was the only event with no Thai representation in the semi-finals and perhaps not coincidentally, it is the only discipline that has never had a Thai winner in the history of this Grand Prix Gold event.  Saensomboonsuk will be attempting to end the longest drought, as Boonsak Ponsana was the last Thai to win the men’s singles title at home, back in 2004.

Finals line-up
WD:  Puttita Supajirakul / Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA) [1] vs. Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara (JPN) [5]
WS:  Busanan Ongbamrungphan (THA) [3] vs. Aya Ohori (JPN)
MD:  Berry Angriawan / Rian Agung Saputro (INA) [2] vs. Takuto Inoue / Yuki Kaneko (JPN)
XD:  Tan Kian Meng / Lai Pei Jing (MAS) [3] vs. Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet (HKG)
MS:  Sony Dwi Kuncoro (INA) [2] vs. Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA) [5]

Click here for complete semi-final 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 @