KOREA OPEN 2018 Day 2 – Thais’ success comes late

Thailand’s badminton team showed promise throughout the day on Wednesday at the Korea Open but again victory came once Dechapol Puavaranukroh got involved. By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in […]

Thailand’s badminton team showed promise throughout the day on Wednesday at the but again victory came once Dechapol Puavaranukroh got involved.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Seoul
Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Thai shuttlers started bright and early with a promising performance by mixed doubles underdogs Supak Jomkoh / Puttita Supajirakul.  They denied 5th seeds He Jiting / Du Yue 3 match points and forced a decider before going down in 3.

Supajirakul faced even greater disappointment in women’s doubles when she and partner Supissara Paewsampran had 3 match points against former world #7 Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao of Japan.  That match, too, went to a decider and the decision went to the Japanese favourites.  Earlier, Porntip Buranaprasertsuk didn’t get to match point but she was up a game against Yip Pui Yin before dropping the next two.

It was hence a rather unlikely turning point when 2014 World Junior Champions Kittinupong Kedren / Dechapol Puavaranukroh (pictured above) stepped on court against #3 seeds Mads Kolding / Mads Conrad Petersen of Denmark.  Despite never having taken a game from the towering 2016 European Champions, this time the diminutive Thais showed excellent persistence and variation in their attacking play and wore the Danes down as they finally prevailed in straight games.

Dechapol Puavaranukroh, of course, is best known for his mixed doubles partnership with Sapsiree Taerattanachai (pictured right), with whom he has been runner-up in a and the Asian Championships last year.  They were the last Thais to win on Tuesday evening, moving into the second round, past a new but talented Korean pair.  He and Kedren are still looking for their big break in men’s doubles.

“We had good preparation before this match and things went well during the match,” said Puavaranukroh afterward.  “We were able to perform in the match according to the plan so it was okay.”

The compact world #13 shuttler was asked about whether the attacks from their very tall Danes was intimidating.  The question just happened to be translated for him with a wry smile by his coach Tesana Panvisvas who, very solidly built and well over six feet tall, was about as intimidating as they come during his own playing days.

Puavaranukroh responded wittily, “Some players are tall, some are short.  Some players are good at some things but I need to find out how to be good at making opponents do the bad things.”

Puavaranukroh said he was not worried about his condition while continuing to play in two disciplines.

“Tomorrow we play He Jiting and Tan Qiang and I have not played them before.  If I can make it to the semi-finals in both mixed and men’s doubles, I will be happy with that.”

Thailand’s one favoured player on Day 2 was world #4 Ratchanok Intanon (pictured above).  The 2014 Korea Open runner-up took apart Japan’s Sayaka Sato in their first game and held on to beat her in straight games.

Thailand’s last contest was a thriller.  After pushing Malaysia’s Aaron Chia / Soh Wooi Yik to extra points in their opening game, Spain Masters runners-up Maneepong Jongjit and Bodin Isara (pictured) put up even more of a fight in the second, finally going down 22-24, 24-26.

Amazingly, with all those extra points, the Thais did not have a single game point in either game.  They did, however, play several thrilling rallies as they denied the Malaysians again and again, to the delight of the dwindling late evening crowd.

Click here for complete Wednesday 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 @ badzine.net