Ratchanok Intanon in action during her semi-final against Zhang Beiwen yesterday.
Ratchanok Intanon will once again battle it out against Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the final of the US$120,000 Thailand Open at Bangkok’s Nimibutr Gymnasium today.
Ratchanok and Busanan met in the 2013 final of the Grand Prix Gold tournament and it was Ratchanok who took home the title, coming from behind to win 20-22, 21-19, 21-13 to become the first Thai women’s singles champion.
It was the same year that Ratchanok, then only 18, was crowned the youngest world champion following her stunning victory over then-reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China on Li’s home soil.
Four years on, Ratchanok has been experiencing a slip in form and world rankings, so she will be desperate to claim her first trophy of the year after failing to defend the three Superseries titles she won last year in April.
Meanwhile, Busanan, at 21 a year younger than her more illustrious compatriot, will want to make up for last year’s disappointment of losing against Japan’s Aya Ohori in the final.
Top seed Ratchanok had little trouble against third seed Zhang Beiwen of the US yesterday, winning their semi-final 21-18, 21-15 in just 39 minutes.
Busanan, seeded fourth this week, was in fine form as she defeated second seed Saina Nehwal in two tough games 21-19, 21-18. It was Busanan’s first career win against the Indian star.
Chayanit Chaladchalam and Phataimas Muenwong will be bidding to keep the women’s doubles crown in Thailand after advancing to the final.
The unseeded Thai pair upset sixth seeds Du Ye and Xu Ya of China 21-19, 21-9 and will face another seeded duo in Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu in today’s title match.
The fifth seeds from Indonesia defeated another pair of Thai hopefuls, Savitree Amitrapai and Pacharapun Chochuwong, 24-26, 21-16, 21-13.
Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai won the title last year.
There were upsets in the mixed doubles semi-finals after the two higher seeded pairs got knocked out yesterday.
No.5 Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai of Malaysia stunned home hopes Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai in a thrilling three-game encounter.
The Malaysian pair defeated the Thai top seeds 21-19, 19-21, 21-17.
They face He Jiting and Du Yue of China in today’s final after the unseeded duo knocked out No.2 Terry Hee Yong Kai and Tan Wei Han of Singapore 23-21, 21-19.
Fourth seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia and third seed Sai Praneeth of India face off in the men’s singles decider today.
Christie, a rising star in the men’s game, cruised past Joo Ven Soong of Malaysia 21-9, 21-18 while Praneeth eliminated the last Thai player in the event, Pannawit Thongnuam, with a 21-11, 21-15 victory.
Pannawit upset defending champion and top seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in the quarter-finals on Friday.
In the men’s doubles, fifth seeds Berry Angriawan and Hardianto Hardianto defeated Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge of England 22-20, 18-21, 21-9 to book a place in the final.
They will meet Rapahel Beck and Peter Kaesbauer who scraped past fellow Germans Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Emil Seidel 21-18, 14-21, 21-19.
The winners of the Thailand Open will receive trophies graciously donated by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
The tournament will be upgraded to a top-tier Superseries event next year.
Chayanit Chaladchalam, left, and Phataimas Muenwong during their women’s doubles semi-final.