Kunlavut Vitidsarn struck an Erling Haaland-inspired pose after his come-from-behind victory set up Thailand’s defeat of Indonesia in their final Group B tie of the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2023. It was a meditative pose, conveying perhaps coolness under pressure.
And Vitidsarn was cool when it mattered. Trailing for most of the deciding game against Jonatan Christie, Vitidsarn bided his time, unwilling to play his cards upfront. Christie it was who put in the burst at the final stretch to go 18-14 up, in touching distance of making it 1-1 for Indonesia after Thailand had taken the opening mixed doubles match.
Yet, the mistakes also came from Christie. He had two openings to take the match, but Vitidsarn was a stubborn opponent, and the Thai celebrated by sitting on the floor in his Haaland imitation to show he’d scored a goal for the team.
“Happy that I could give a point to the team. There was pressure, and Jonatan was very good in attack and defence, so I had to control myself,” said Vitidsarn.
“I felt pressure in the game, but not before the game. Getting one point makes it easier for us in the next match. I like Haaland, I like the way he celebrates after scoring a goal, so that’s why I did the same.”
With Kunlavut making it 2-0, the tie was set up for Thailand to close it out in the next match. World No.12 Pornpawee Chochuwong was favourite against Putri Kusuma Wardani, and even though the Indonesian battled all the way, the Thai was too strong at the end, 15-21 21-14 21-17.