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Kunlavut, Supanida carry Thai hopes in Indian Open semi-finals
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22, 2023
Thailand’s world No. 8 Kunlavut Vitidsarn booked his second straight semi-final appearance on the BWF World Tour after he stamped his authority over former world champion Lo Kean Yew of Singapore in the Yonex Sunrise India Open badminton on Friday.
Seven days after reaching the Malaysian Open last four, the in-form Thai No. 1 utilised his signature defensive game to upset the Singaporean third seed 21-12 21-17 in the quarter-finals. It was Kunlavut’s fourth straight win over the 2021 BWF world champion.
After a sluggish start that saw him trail Lo 7-11 at the first intermission, the 21-year-old Thai tightened his defensive strategy while his opponent made a string of unforced errors. Kunlavut reeled off 12 straight points to surge ahead at 19-11, allowing just one more point to his rival before landing the opener with ease.
World No. 7 Lo raised his game and pushed his Thai rival to the limit in the second game. But at 17-all, Kunlavut surged ahead, taking four successive points to close the deal. It was the first time that Kunlavut had beaten Lo in straight games. Last week, he prevailed over the Singaporean in three games in Malaysia.
In Saturday’s semi-finals, the Thai ace will face world No. 3 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia.
On the women’s side, Thailand’s world No. 30 Supanida Katehong got a walk-over into the semi-finals after Olympic gold medalist Chen Yufei of China pulled out due to illness.
Supanida will take on world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, the title winner in Malaysia last week. However, Pornpawee Chochuwong, the other Thai in the quarter-finals, was sent packing by second-seeded An Se Young of South Korea 21-14 21-14.