Tuesday, May 21, 2019
TEXT BY GAYLE ALLEYNE | BADMINTONPHOTO
For the second successive day, a top contender was forced to go the distance versus Russia but ultimately Thailand prevailed tonight, booking their place in the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019 quarterfinals.
There was eventually lots for the ‘Land of Smiles’ to celebrate in winning their Group 1A tie 3-2, with their powerful mixed-doubles combination of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai seeing them to safety. The pair demolished Evgenij Dremin and Evgenia Dimova, 21-10 21-11, to complete Thailand’s comeback. That result ensured their team’s quarterfinals qualification as Russia lost yesterday to top seeds Japan who Thailand will face tomorrow evening in Nanning, China.
However, halfway through the tie there were concerned looks in the Thai camp as their European opponents led 2-1 overall, having won men’s singles and doubles – just as they did versus Japan. It was again Vladimir Malkov in the solo event and doubles dynamos, Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov, who provided the fireworks for Russia. Malkov derailed Kantaphon Wangcharoen, 21-13 21-15, while his teammates triumphed 21-11 19-21 21-15 over Kittinupong Kedren and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet. On the flipside, Ratchanok Intanon easily outclassed Evgeniya Kosetskaya (21-7 21-16) to put Thailand on the board.
Those first three matches set the tone for Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai to start Thailand’s rescue mission. Russia’s Ekaterina Bolotova and Alina Davletova resisted for much of the first game before their Thai rivals won 21-19 21-14.
“We were a bit nervous because Russia was leading the tie but, after the first game, we focused more and settled down. We played better and had more control in the second game,” said Kititharakul.
Quote of the Session
Despite her team being defeated 3-2 by Japan and Thailand, Russia’s head coach Klavdiya Mayorova was pleased with the performance of her men’s singles and men’s doubles players.
“Both Japan and Thailand were very difficult for us but it was very good to win these matches. It’s points for the Olympic Games qualification and we are happy about that,” she said.
“Today Thailand’s mixed doubles played very fast and it was a problem for my team. Our women’s doubles wasn’t good and Ratchanok was very strong in women’s singles. We have to improve in these categories.”
French Defeat Dutch
Meanwhile, in the Group 2A battle for supremacy, France claimed bragging rights 3-2 over the Netherlands in an all-European tug-of-war. The French were victorious in women’s singles (Marie Batomene), women’s doubles (Delphine Delrue/Lea Palermo) and finally men’s doubles (Thom Gicquel/Ronan Labar). This would have been a relief to men’s singles veteran Brice Leverdez who let a 17-14 lead slip in the decider versus Mark Caljouw to be beaten 21-15 11-21 27-25.
“It was an exciting match and I’m really glad that I could win. We know each other very well from playing many tournaments. It’s nice to beat players like Brice who is a top European player. It’s a big boost in confidence for me,” said 24-year-old Caljouw.
In Group 3B, Switzerland blanked Slovakia 5-0 and Sri Lanka did likewise to Lithuania. Sri Lanka topped the round-robin standings, with Switzerland in second.