Triumphant ‘Thai-tans’! – Day 5 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

The inspired, yet unheralded pairing of two of the many Women’s Doubles players who have come to the fore for Thailand recently provided a sensational shock tonight, ousting Denmark from the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017 in emphatic fashion.

Locked 2-2 in Thailand’s nail-biting quarter-final against the No.2 seeds at Gold Coast Sports & Leisure Centre, Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (featured image) coolly took to the court and inflicted a battering on the stellar partnership of Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl who were expected, as they have done countless times before, to deliver the decisive point for the European champions.

Instead, it was the scratch duo across the net – in just their second match together – who dominated and dictated from start to finish, romping to a spell-binding 21-15 21-12 triumph in 44 minutes to end the Danes’ error-strewn misery; catapulting Thailand into the headlines and indeed into the medal round. Inconsolable and stunned, Pedersen and Rytter Juhl trudged from the court as their conquerors were swept up in celebration with their joyous team.

“We didn’t pressure ourselves. We tried to stay calm and move them around a lot and not let them settle into the match because they are really good when they get into their rhythm,” said 24-year-old Kititharakul in the wake of the memorable 3-2 success.

Taerattanachai, 25, was also pleased to win Mixed Doubles for her country with Dechapol Puavaranukroh; 21-19 21-19 against Mathias Christiansen/Sara Thygesen. Thailand’s other point came compliments their Women’s Singles standard-bearer, Ratchanok Intanon, who was clearly a cut above Line Kjærsfeldt in their first meeting (21-15 21-14). It came at a crucial stage, with Thailand trailing 1-2 after Viktor Axelsen’s commanding Men’s Singles victory against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (21-15 21-6) and a stirring Men’s Doubles comeback by Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pielder Kolding when all seemed lost versus Bodin Isara/ Nipitphon Phuangphuapet (15-21 21-18 21-16).

Even as Intanon outclassed her opponent, Danish fans felt certain their dependable Women’s Doubles duo would see them to safety but, it was not to be, amid a dynamic onslaught which made the Olympic silver medallists uncharacteristically unsure about their shots and movement. Playing like seasoned partners, Taerattanachai and Kititharakul became increasingly assertive as they switched sides, almost bullying their way to the finish as the neon scoreboard rapidly ticked over in their favour. A thunderous smash by Taerattanachai bisected the out-of-sorts Danes down the middle and, at 19-10, it was all but over.

“This is a big surprise – for us too!” declared delighted Thailand coach, Grithtin Kridtanukoon.

“During our training for this tournament, we mixed and matched different players and these two played well together. They have a good chemistry, though they usually have different partners. We decided to try this combination and it was the key to beating Denmark today. Maybe we will try this pair again.”

Moments later, Thailand learnt their semi-final opponents will be Korea; the latter avenging yesterday’s group-stage loss to Chinese Taipei.

Seizing an unassailable 3-1 advantage – also finalised by their Women’s Doubles exploits, thanks to Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee (21-13 21-18 versus Hsu Ya Ching/Wu Ti Jung) – the Koreans were fittingly steered towards the last four by a resolute performance from new Men’s Singles world No.1, Son Wan Ho. So often shrouded in disappointment for failing to live up to his talent, Son composed himself after dropping the opening game and set about repairing the damage. At 14-6 in the second game, he looked set for a decider only to suddenly find himself fighting to stay alive as Chou levelled at 16-16. A determined Son survived that blip and wrestled control from his rival in the third game. However, leads of 13-8 and 17-13 almost came to nought as a fired-up Chou clawed back into reckoning, even holding match points at 20-18.

On his second match point, the Chinese Taipei ace thought he had it won as Son hit deep and the shuttle was called out but an instant review gave Son a lifeline and he clung to it tightly, even saving a third match point before clinching victory: 13-21 21-18 23-21 in 91 gruelling minutes.

“I felt anxious when I lost the first game but I had to focus and get on top in the match. It was tough and I am very glad to have won,” said Son who turned 29 last week.

Korea also triumphed in a fiery Men’s Doubles battle, with Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae getting past Lee Jhe Huei and Lee Yang, 21-16 14-21 21-17. Chinese Taipei’s lone success was in Women’s Singles, with Tai Tzu Ying defeating Sung Ji Hyun, 21-14 26-24.

Click here for results

Sudirman Cup News

Korea Light Up Gold Coast

Korea Light Up Gold Coast

29 May 2017
‘Seoul’ Satisfying! – Final: TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

‘Seoul’ Satisfying! – Final: TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

28 May 2017
Steely Survival – Day 7 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Steely Survival – Day 7 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

28 May 2017
Korea Storm into Final – Day 7 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Korea Storm into Final – Day 7 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman...

27 May 2017
‘Vietnam Vet’ Shines – Day 6 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

‘Vietnam Vet’ Shines – Day 6 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup...

26 May 2017
China, Japan to Face Off – Day 6 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

China, Japan to Face Off – Day 6 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF...

26 May 2017
Australia Falter to Singapore – Day 5 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Australia Falter to Singapore – Day 5 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman...

25 May 2017
Three Women Elected to Athletes’ Commission

Three Women Elected to Athletes’ Commission

25 May 2017
Danes Dig Deep – Day 4 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Danes Dig Deep – Day 4 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup...

24 May 2017
Chinese Taipei Down Korea – Day 4 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Chinese Taipei Down Korea – Day 4 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman...

24 May 2017
Irrepressible India! – Day 3 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Irrepressible India! – Day 3 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

23 May 2017
Easy for Malaysia, Scotland – Day 3 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Easy for Malaysia, Scotland – Day 3 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman...

23 May 2017
Thailand Survive – Day 2 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Thailand Survive – Day 2 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

22 May 2017
Denmark Overcome India – Day 2 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Denmark Overcome India – Day 2 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup...

22 May 2017
Big Guns Prevail – Day 1 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Big Guns Prevail – Day 1 (Session 2): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup...

21 May 2017
Canada Bounce Back – Day 1 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Canada Bounce Back – Day 1 (Session 1): TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup...

21 May 2017
Fireworks Begin Today!

Fireworks Begin Today!

21 May 2017
New Generals Cautious on Battle Eve

New Generals Cautious on Battle Eve

19 May 2017
BWF All Set to Go!

BWF All Set to Go!

18 May 2017
Sri Lanka Look Formidable in Group 3

Sri Lanka Look Formidable in Group 3

18 May 2017
Hosts Australia Have Edge in Group 2

Hosts Australia Have Edge in Group 2

18 May 2017
Korea Head in With Young Blood – TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

Korea Head in With Young Blood – TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

12 May 2017
Nine Running for BWF Athletes’ Commission

Nine Running for BWF Athletes’ Commission

11 April 2017
England Withdraws; Germany Promoted

England Withdraws; Germany Promoted

4 April 2017
China Features Early: TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

China Features Early: TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

29 March 2017
Gold Coast Toasts Sudirman Cup Draw

Gold Coast Toasts Sudirman Cup Draw

20 March 2017
Sudirman Cup Battle Royal Beckons

Sudirman Cup Battle Royal Beckons

17 March 2017
China Get Top Billing – TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

China Get Top Billing – TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017

6 March 2017
Sudirman Cup Goes South

Sudirman Cup Goes South

8 February 2017
32 Teams ‘Going Gold’

32 Teams ‘Going Gold’

2 February 2017
Gold Coast Beckons!

Gold Coast Beckons!

25 October 2016
Gold Coast Wins Sudirman Cup 2017

Gold Coast Wins Sudirman Cup 2017

13 November 2014