Ratchanok snaps back from the brink to reach last 8 of Thailand Open II #SootinClaimon.Com

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Ratchanok snaps back from the brink to reach last 8 of Thailand Open II

Jan 22. 2021 Ratchanok IntanonRatchanok Intanon

By THE NATION

Fourth-seeded Ratchanok Intanon suffered a scare against Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea before prevailing in a marathon battle to reach the quarter-finals of the $1-million Toyota Thailand Open at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani on Thursday.

Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai 

The home favourite was two points away from defeat in game two but gritted her teeth to outlast her opponent 19-21 24-22 21-17 after 76 minutes of nail-biting action.

“She came up with a good game plan and took me out of my comfort zone. I had to refocus my concentration on the match several times,” said Rachanok, who joined Pornpawee Chorchuwong as one of the last two Thai singles players left in the event.

“At this stage, every player is tough. Only the ones who are stronger mentality and fitness-wise will progress,” added Ratchanok, who will play India’s Sindhu Pusarla V on Friday.

Pornpawee earlier halted the run of teenage compatriot Benyapa Aimsaard, 21-18 21-14.

Tai Tzu Ying 

Top-seeded Tai Tai Tzu-ying was briefly tested by former world junior champion Gregorina Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia before advancing with a 22-20 21-16 victory in women’s second round action, which saw all seeds safely through.

“”I felt my play was rushed today – I couldn’t control the match and I made mistakes. I’m still trying my best to manage the body’s condition for the next match,” said the 26-year-old from Kaoshiung, who suffered a one-sided loss to Spain’s Carolina Marin in last Sunday’s Thailand Open I final.

The in-form Marin meanwhile collected her seventh straight win without dropping a game, picking off Line Kjaersfeldt of Denmark 21-19 21-16 in 45 minutes.

“I’m not happy with how I’ve been playing on court this week. It’s difficult after you win a tournament and two days later you’re playing again in a new tournament,” said the fifth seed and world No 6.

On the men’s side, last week’s champion Axelsen and finalist Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan stormed into the quarter-finals without trouble. The Dane produced a masterclass to ease past three-time world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand 21-11 21-13 while Chou toppled Brice Leverdez of France 21-19 21-16.

“I’m really satisfied with my game today, I came out strong and fast and didn’t give Kunlavut many chances. He’s an upcoming player that I respect a lot so I had to come with quite a high pace,” Axelsen said.

But two seeds were shown the exit in the men’s draw. Last week’s beaten finalist Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong, the seventh seed, went down to Taiwanese Wang Tzu Wei 21-13 21-11. Fifth-seeded Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia was sent packing by Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong 21-19 13-21 21-12.

Supissara Paewsampran and Supak Jomkoh 

In the mixed doubles, local top seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai and unfancied Supak Jomkoh and Supissara Paewsampran both booked quarter-final slots.

Dechapol and Sapsiree, who captured the title last week stayed on course for back-to-back triumphs with a scintillating 21-12, 21-19 victory over Malaysia’s world No 12 Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie.

World No 44 Supak Jomkoh and Supissara Paewsampran pulled off a stunning 21-18 11-21 23-21 win over Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, seventh seeds and world No 9 from England, in an exhausting 67 minutes.

Kang leads again after 18 holes at Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions #SootinClaimon.Com

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Kang leads again after 18 holes at Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions

Jan 22. 2021Danielle Kang (Photo credit to LPGA)Danielle Kang (Photo credit to LPGA)

For the second consecutive year, Danielle Kang and Gaby Lopez got off to hot starts at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America.

Kang followed 2020’s opening-round 63 with a bogey-free 64 this year, earning a one-stroke lead over defending champion Lopez and the sister duo of Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda. Lopez was also tied for second after 18 holes in 2020.

“I think my short game was really good today. I had a lot of good feel and touch around the greens and made some good saves. I chipped in once today, which was cool,” said Kang, who ultimately finished T12 in 2020. “Even the chip on the last hole wasn’t easy. Straight into the grain. Just had good feel with the wedges, and that’s what I been working on a lot.”

Kang’s 64 on Thursday was just one stroke off tying her career-best mark of 63. She’s carded that number three times, most recently right here in 2020. While it was a great start, she followed it up with three rounds in the 70s to fall into a tie for 12th. In fact, her only three rounds in the 60s at the DRTOC have all come in the first round and all when she was grouped with celebrity competitors Lee Brice and Cole Swindell.

“I just feel like I’m playing with my friends back at home and I’m not stressed. That’s kind of the vibe I have. I know tournament golf we always want to play well and win, and sometimes we get so caught up we forget to enjoy it,” said Kang. “Those two guys, you can’t not have fun with them. At least once a year I’m guaranteed one round, hopefully.”

Lopez also started 2021 much like she started 2020, recording a bogey-free 6-under 65 at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando. Playing in the final group with defending celebrity champion John Smoltz and 72-time LPGA Tour winner Annika Sorenstam, Lopez cruised around Tranquilo Golf Course and is in prime position to successfully defend her DRTOC title.

“We as players, we play so many golf courses. Being able to go back, come back to those courses which you like the most, the ones that the distance is probably the right one for you and the course setup,” said Lopez, who survived a seven-hole playoff in 2020 to capture the title. “So, yeah, really enjoy this golf course. The community, the people are so welcoming. This place has a special vibe.”

Starting on No. 10, Jessica Korda opened with three straight birdies and an eagle on her first four holes, making the turn at -7. She fell to -5 with bogeys at 2 and 7 but got back into a tie for second with a birdie at No. 9.

In the celebrity competition, former tennis player Mardy Fish leads the field at +66, followed by New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks at +69 and 2004 World Series champion Derek Lowe at +70. Three players are tied for fourth at +72, including two-time defending celebrity champion John Smoltz. The celebrity competition is under a Modified Stableford scoring system.

SISTERLY LOVE – AND COMPETITION – SHINES THROUGH FOR KORDA SISTERS

In the post-round interview area at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions on Thursday, it was easy to do a double take. Nelly Korda was in the main Q&A tent answering questions from the assembled media while her sister Jessica Korda stood 50 feet away, recording an interview for Golf Channel. The statuesque sisters, who appeared together on the cover of Golf Digest in November, often get mistaken for each other, despite their five-year age difference, and they often like to poke fun at each other during these media sessions. But their sisterly bond always shines above any sibling rivalry.

“I always knew. I knew that if she kept her head down and worked really hard, you know, she was going to make it,” said Jessica of Nelly. “You can tell by the person. I think being around athletes our entire lives you have the feel for it. Yeah, she’s a great player and she’s got a very long career ahead of her.”

But even with all the sisterly love, Jessica did admit to using Nelly’s position on the leaderboard as motivation to drain her birdie putt on 18. She wasn’t going to let Little Sister beat her today.

“I saw her on the leaderboard. I was putting like towards the leaderboard on 18 or 9. I was like, Dang, I got to make this. Glad I did,” she said with a big laugh.

“WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!” STACY LEWIS MAKES GOOD ON 2020 PROMISE TO YOUNG DAUGHTER

When Stacy Lewis won the 2020 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, her first call was to husband Gerrod Chadwell and their daughter Chesnee back home in Texas. With a beaming smile on her face, Lewis got to tell her little girl those words every kid loves to hear – “We’re going to Disney World!”

That made this week’s Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions at the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando, located just 1 mile from the entrance gates to the Magic Kingdom, even more special. The Lewis/Chadwell clan can’t visit the Happiest Place on Earth until Monday due to the Tour’s COVID-19 protocols, but Lewis admitted that she might be more excited than her daughter to step foot onto Main Street U.S.A.

“She loves Mickey and Minnie. She’s gotten into Frozen. I just can’t wait to see it through her eyes,” said Lewis.

Lewis kicked off her tournament in style, carding a bogey-free 5-under 66 in Thursday’s opening round. This is her first time at the #DiamondLPGA since 2019, when she tied for sixth in her first event since giving birth to Chesnee in October 2018.

“I haven’t been hitting a ton or practiced a ton leading into this week. Just probably about a week and a half or so. Just the stuff that I’ve been work on, it worked. Saw it kind of pay off today,” said Lewis, who played alongside baseball players Brian McCann and A.J. Pierzynski. “Just played really solid. Didn’t do anything crazy. Just hit a ton of greens and made a few putts here and there.”

Shinya Aoki Believes He’s Found James Nakashima’s Weakness #SootinClaimon.Com

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Shinya Aoki Believes He’s Found James Nakashima’s Weakness

Jan 22. 2021

Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki of Japan considers himself a thinking fighter. He doesn’t just go out there looking to scrap and throw down. As such, his fluid grappling style certainly matches that ideology.

When Aoki meets former ONE Welterweight World Title challenger James Nakashima of the United States this Friday night, the mixed martial arts veteran believes he knows exactly how to handle the confident American.

The two are set to clash in the co-main event of ONE: UNBREAKABLE, which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on 22 January.

“All of his skills are high on average. He doesn’t have any particular field that stands out and excels, but the balance of his skills are good. He does everything well,” Aoki said of Nakashima, in a recent interview with ONE Championship ahead of his next bout.

“I don’t think he has many weaknesses, but the fact that you are not outstanding in any field means, on the other hand, you cannot make a bold attempt in the bout. It means you can’t gamble or you can’t take risks.

“Martial arts doesn’t work like an admission exam for universities. Even if your average score is not great [in a fight], there’s a possibility that you can be successful just by excelling in one subject. I think that is his weakness,” he added.

Nakashima is a former ONE World Title challenger. The previously unbeaten American was most recently in the Circle with reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion Kiamrian Abbasov. Unfortunately, Nakashima fell via fourth-round technical knockout in a fight he was dominating from start to finish. After the setback, Nakashima decided to move down to lightweight where he drew Aoki.

With a whopping 28 submission victories in a career that boasts of 45 wins, Aoki believes his grappling superiority is enough to offset anything Nakashima brings to the table.

“The complicated thing about mixed martial arts is that, for example, when a person who is not good at striking faces an opponent who is good at striking. If the person has strong grappling skills, the opponent will have pressure from the grappling,” said Aoki.

“By doing so, you can negate your opponent’s striking ability. So, when people say this is a matchup between grapplers, my reaction is like, ‘Well, that’s certainly one of its aspects.”

ONE: UNBREAKABLE is ONE Championship’s first live event in 2021. The main event features a ONE Super Series showdown between ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov of Russia, who defends his world title against #2-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender Capitan Petchyindee Academy of Thailand.

Known as arguably the most dangerous grappler in all of mixed martial arts, “Tobikan Judan” feels he has all the tools necessary to put together a solid performance, and perhaps give the fans something special.

“I’ve been doing this [mixed martial arts] for 16 or 17 years, so I’m confident I can make something good. I can make it worth watching. I can make it like a story of good novels with great structure, quick getaway, build-up, climax, and a great ending,” said Aoki.

“I want to make something that people can enjoy and talk about for a month or two after the bout. Hopefully, something the fans can savor for a longer time.”

MotoGP partners with Moto Trainer to bring the grid to your garage #SootinClaimon.Com

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MotoGP partners with Moto Trainer to bring the grid to your garage

Jan 22. 2021

Train yourself to take on the world on your own bike with world-leading bike simulator Moto Trainer

Dorna Sports is delighted to announce a partnership with Moto Trainer to launch a training revolution for riders across the globe. Bringing the thrill of Grand Prix racing to fans the world over, Moto Trainer is a motorbike simulator that allows riders to train on their own bikes.  

Moto Trainer’s incredible software can virtually transport riders to the world’s greatest tracks, allowing riders to train on each and every MotoGP™ circuit across the globe. Suitable for sports bikes of all shapes and sizes, Moto Trainer can either be linked to the official MotoGP™ videogame, produced by long-standing MotoGP™ partner and videogame developer Milestone, or riders can follow an OnBoard lap of the track on which they wish to train.  

Linking the simulator to MotoGP™ videogame allows riders to become part of the action like never before, with real-world movement perfectly synchronised to the digital rendering of their riding on-screen. On-board laps, meanwhile, provide the perfect blueprint for riders to follow – allowing even the most veteran riders to train in seamless synchronicity with their on-screen counterpart.  

Andrea Lombardi, CEO of MotoTrainer: “The software behind Moto Trainer, developed by our engineers, is capable of playing any onboard video, and allows riders to save their efforts on a telemetry master track. This means that you can load any circuit and motorbike you want, with riders replicating the video to the reference telemetry. The software then analyses the rider’s performance by monitoring the accelerator, front and rear brakes, gearbox and trajectories. It’s a platform that allows bikers to train on every circuit in the world at an affordable price.”

Pau Serrancanta, Managing Director at Dorna Sports: “I’m delighted to be able to announce this agreement, adding yet another way in which fans are able to connect with and enjoy their favourite sport. In addition, the fact that it can also be used alongside the MotoGP™ videogame proves another bolster to Dorna’s eSports project, which continues to go from strength to strength.”

Local teen stars streak into second round at Thailand Open II #SootinClaimon.Com

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Local teen stars streak into second round at Thailand Open II

Jan 21. 2021Kunlavut Vitidsarn Kunlavut Vitidsarn

By THE NATION

Three-time world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn rebounded from a disastrous first game to beat former Thailand Masters champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the first round of the $1-million Toyota Thailand Open at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old from Chonburi succumbed to nerves in the opener before showing tenacity and rock-solid defence to wear down his opponent in 65 minutes.

“Overall it was a good match for me, except for the first game where I started really slow,” said Kunlavut, who won a record three world junior men’s singles titles from 2017-19. “Then I tried to speed up and tightened my defence, cutting down easy errors,” the world No 29 added.

However fellow Thai Suppanyu Avihingsanon failed to emulate the teenager, going down 21-16 21-4 to world No 2 Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan.

Meanwhile Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie of Indonesia was dumped out after a marathon 75-minute battle saw India’s Prannoy HS triumph 18-21 21-16 23-21. However, Prannoy’s compatriot and 2017 Thailand Open winner Sai Praneeth B withdrew from the tournament after testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday night.

Benyapa Aimsaard

Wednesday’s biggest upset came in the women’s singles, where Thailand’s world No 129 Benyapa Aimsaard, aged 18, stunned world No 29 Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia 21-15 17-21 21-19 in the first round.

“I was leading in the last game, but she was pushing hard in an aggressive style and [suddenly] the scores were level,” said Benyapa. “I was a bit shaky, but I tried to control myself. I am so glad I could make it over the finishing line. This has really boosted my confidence, this is massive for me,” said the Thai dark horse.

Carolina Marin 

Fresh from winning the Thailand Open I last week, Carolina Marin of Spain maintained her streak with a 21-9 21-18 win over Qi Xuefei of France.

The Spanish world No 6, who on Sunday upset world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan for her first victory since 2019, was briefly challenged by the China-born player before advancing after 42 minutes.

“I wanted to start with the same determination I had last week,” said the former world No 1, who already has four Super 1000 titles including the Thailand Open I under her belt.

“The first game was good. The second game I had a few unforced errors, but I didn’t think negatively. I tried to keep going … and keep pushing her just to get the victory,” said Marin who has yet to drop a game in the past two weeks.

Elsewhere, South Korean teen sensation An Se Young, a semi-finalist last week, displayed her superior all-court game to eliminate local hope Phittayaporn Chaiwan 21-12 21-8.

LPGA enters 71st season with Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions #SootinClaimon.Com

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LPGA enters 71st season with Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions

Jan 21. 2021

The LPGA Tour returns to play with the third playing of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America.

Winners from the 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons have made their way to Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club, with 2020 DRTOC winner Gaby Lopez hoping to reclaim the title she earned after emerging victorious from a seven-hole playoff that spilled into Monday. She is joined by three players inside the top 10 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings in No. 4 Nelly Korda, No. 5 Danielle Kang and No. 6 Brooke Henderson.

The exciting field also includes 53 celebrities covering a range of talents in the sports and entertainment worlds, who will tee alongside the LPGA Tour stars all four days. Notable celebrities include two-time defending DRTOC celebrity winner and World Series champion John Smoltz, musician Cole Swindell, and actors Brian Baumgartner and Jack Wagner.

NOT MUCH REST, BUT DANIELLE KANG MAKES IT TO DRTOC

Nearly a month has passed since Rolex Ranking No. 5 Danielle Kang stood on the 18th green at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla., with a smile on her face and the 2020 Vare Trophy in hand. Yet despite the holiday break, Kang says she doesn’t feel that rested heading into this week’s Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.

“It wasn’t really a break. There were two moves. I moved, then I got exposed to Coronavirus twice,” said Kang, who arrived in Orlando from her Las Vegas home on Monday. “Had to quarantine twice. Take six tests in the last two weeks. It’s been a little hectic.”

Luckily for Kang, this week’s tournament is a bit more laid back with more than 50 celebrities competing alongside the Tour players. This is Kang’s third consecutive tournament appearance and for the third straight year, she’ll spend a round with country musicians Cole Swindell and Lee Brice.

“I play with them every year, the three of us get paired. I’m really excited to see them,” said Kang, who will join her musical friends off the first tee at 9:40 a.m. on Thursday. “I just saw Lee earlier today and his crew. Those boys are really, really nice guys. At least once a year we get to play golf no matter what, which is here, and I’m really excited. I’m excited for the tournament to be here every year, and I asked (Diamond Resorts CEO) Mike Flaskey to don’t ever take it away, because it’s a pretty awesome event. He’s doing so many good things with his charity and clothing line and all that stuff.”

VORACIOUS LEARNER MADELENE SAGSTROM IS TEACHING THIS WEEK AT HER HOME COURSE

It’s not her first time at this event. It’s just her first time playing.

Madelene Sagstrom has been a fixture at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions since the season-opener joined the LPGA Tour schedule in 2018. She could always be found walking the range and chatting with new and interesting people (two things she loves to do). But up until now she has observed the competition from outside the ropes.

“Everybody kept asking, ‘Why are you not playing?’” Sagstrom said. “I was like, ‘You have to win.’”

And win she did, almost exactly a full year ago at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio. In her fourth year on the LPGA Tour, the 28-year-old from Enkoping, Sweden, finally broke through with a victory after having already competed on one Solheim Cup team and represented her home country at the UL International Crown in the Republic of Korea.

“So now I get to play,” she said with a smile on Tuesday.

But the answer begged another question. Of all the events on the LPGA Tour calendar, why did Sagstrom hang out at this one before she was eligible to be in the field? “Because I play out here,” she said of the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., less than a mile from the front gates to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. “I’ve lived here four years and really enjoy being out here.”

Sagstrom lives about 15 minutes from the course and is a regular, especially in the

AFTER AN UNEXPECTED 2020, BRITTANY LINCICOME IS READY FOR A SEASON SHE’S MORE USED TO

With a worldwide pandemic and a newborn on her hands, eight-time LPGA Tour winner Brittany Lincicome spent a lot of time adjusting in 2020. After giving birth to daughter Emery in July 2019, the Floridian knew it would take time to get used to Tour life again.

“It’s just getting back in a rhythm. Obviously last year having Emery and then the COVID stuff I had to take almost a year off, which is something I’ve never done. It was more like the nerves of it and just getting back in a rhythm,” said Lincicome, who finished the 2020 season strong with a T13 finish at CME Group Tour Championship less than a month ago. “Obviously, a lot of weeks off. It was kind of two weeks, week off, two weeks. It was just hard to get in a rhythm really, so towards the end of the season, obviously had a few more tournaments under my belt. Kind of seemed to start coming together, and then unfortunately the season was over. Hopefully we can pick up on that quickly again and get right back into it.”

Always the optimist, the 17-year LPGA veteran wishes normalcy for the entire Tour and is always looking for the proverbial silver lining in a difficult situation. While 2020 saw a plethora of canceled and adjusted events, the 35-year-old was happy to see this week’s Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions and its fun events still in play, even if the Tour players cannot fully participate due to COVID-related restrictions.

“I was so glad to see this event didn’t have any hiccups. We obviously look forward to it. We’re not allowed to go to the concerts unfortunately, which is a bummer, but it’s still just them having it. Maybe I can sit in a car and roll down the window and hear the concerts, because it’s outside,” Lincicome joked with a laugh.

Linciome will tee off in Thursday’s first round at 9:10 a.m. off No. 10, playing alongside Major League Baseball players Josh Beckett and Joe Carter.

TOUR RETURNS AMID CELEBRITY GLITTER AT DIAMOND RESORTS TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

When the 2020 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions spilled over to Monday before Gaby Lopez won in a scintillating seven-hole playoff, anticipation for the new LPGA Tour season was off the charts. Who knew a global pandemic would socially distance that enthusiasm? But the best way to put memories in the rearview mirror is with a celebration and the Diamond Resorts is just the ticket to kick off 2021.

The year ahead has more tournaments, more prize money, more great venues, more TV exposure, the Olympics and the Solheim Cup. The Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions Presented by Insurance Office of America at the Four Seasons Golf & Sports Club in Orlando with its select field of 25 professionals and star power of 50 celebrities starts things off with appropriate sizzle.

The LPGA winners-only field plays for a $1.2 million purse over 72 holes with no cut. The sports and entertainment celebrities compete for a $500,000 purse of their own using a modified Stableford format. And all of the fun can be seen on Golf Channel Thursday and Friday then NBC on Saturday and Sunday.

BWF confirms Indian badminton player has Covid-19, roommate in self-quarantine #SootinClaimon.Com

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BWF confirms Indian badminton player has Covid-19, roommate in self-quarantine

Jan 20. 2021Sai Praneeth BSai Praneeth B

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed Indian player Sai Praneeth B, 28, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday and has been withdrawn from the Toyota Thailand Open.

The 2017 Thailand Open champion is in hospital for further observation and testing, and is required to stay there for a minimum of 10 days.

The BWF said Praneeth had been rooming with teammate Kidambi Srikanth at the official hotel. Srikanth has also been withdrawn from the Toyota Thailand Open and is undergoing “strict” self-quarantine. Srikanth tested negative during a test on Monday.

Daily testing protocols have been implemented by health authorities, the Badminton Association of Thailand and the BWF, including restricting the movement and schedule of the rest of the Indian team as per tournament rules to ensure the health and safety of all participants.

The restrictions are in place for 14 days and end on February 1.

All other players and personnel involved in the competition, including all Team India players and entourage, returned negative results following Monday’s mandatory round of PCR testing.

Health authorities have cleared other Indian players, the BWF added.

Capitan Petchyindee Academy targets to subdue Ramazanov #SootinClaimon.Com

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Capitan Petchyindee Academy targets to subdue Ramazanov

Jan 20. 2021Capitan Petchyindee AcademyCapitan Petchyindee Academy

Thai striking sensation Capitan Petchyindee Academy is on a tremendous high right now, and is one of the hottest talents heading into 2021. 

The 27-year-old from Nong Bua Lamphu Province, Thailand made his promotional debut in September of 2020 in a rousing knockout performance against six-time Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion Petchtanong Petchfergus. He finished his foe in just 6 seconds to record the fastest KO in ONE Super Series history.

The performance earned Capitan the right to challenge for the ONE World Title, and now months later, he’s ready to capitalize on the opportunity of a lifetime.

The #2-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender, Capitan is set to take on reigning ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov of Russia in the main event of ONE: UNBREAKABLE, scheduled for Friday, 22 January at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.

“Alaverdi Ramazanov is a great, young fighter. I have a lot of respect for him and what he has accomplished. He’s tall, much longer than me, and he has good strong punching and kicking skills as well. He’s the complete package and a tough matchup for sure,” said Capitan.

Following the victory over Petchtanong, Capitan went on to record two other big wins, decisions over Chamuaktong Fightermuaythai and Sangmanee Sor. Cafemuaythai in other promotions. He’s now won 13 straight.

Against Ramazanov, however, Capitan faces a long and rangey ring general who is on a mean streak of his own. The “Babyface Killer” captured the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Championship with a five-round unanimous decision victory over China’s Zhang Chenglong in December of 2019, and now Ramazanov is set to make his first title defense.

Capitan has done his due diligence and studied Ramazanov’s specific style ahead of their blockbuster matchup. He’s identified Ramazanov’s biggest strengths and knows exactly how he’s going to beat the young superstar.

“One thing I have to watch out for is his speed, which allows him to connect on his combinations with power and accuracy. Watching his previous performances in the ring, I think that will have to be his biggest strength,” said Capitan.

“But he’s never faced an opponent like me. I think with my experience and toughness, I have what it takes to beat him. He’s not tougher than me. I am going for the knockout in this fight. I am going to stop him and win the title.”

ONE: UNBREAKABLE is ONE Championship’s first live event in 2021. The event also features a co-headliner between former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, and American James Nakashima.

Chinese Taipei’s Pan in a happier place as he seeks strong year on PGA TOUR #SootinClaimon.Com

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Chinese Taipei’s Pan in a happier place as he seeks strong year on PGA TOUR

Jan 20. 2021C.T. Pan (Photo credit to  Credit Getty Images)C.T. Pan (Photo credit to Credit Getty Images)

Missing the cut in his first tournament of 2021 wasn’t how C.T. Pan planned on starting the New Year. But despite that, the Chinese Taipei golf star is still in a far happier place now compared to some 12 months ago.

If the script had played out the way he envisaged early last year, Pan would have been riding on the crest of a wave following an impressive Presidents Cup debut in December 2019, where he won two of his three matches for the International Team at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

 The 29-year-old said he left Australia as a “better golfer,” but a combination of illness, golf’s enforced shutdown due to COVID-19 and losing his golf swing made it pretty much a year to forget before salvaging 2020 with a tie for seventh in his first Masters Tournament appearance last November.

 Fully healthy and swinging freely once more, Pan, who is featuring in The American Express at PGA West (Stadium) in La Quinta, California this week, is eager to make up for lost time despite his false start at the Sony Open in Hawaii last week, where he missed weekend play by one shot.

 “There are a lot of positive things, no doubt,” said Pan. “I’m definitely looking forward to 2021 especially with a new mentality. (Last year) was a tough year. After you struggle, you feel everything opens up. … Your mentality is better and you have a different perspective of the game. I think it will help me moving forward.”

 Pan came down with the flu after a bittersweet Presidents Cup debut—the International Team suffered a narrow 16-14 loss to the U.S. Team—and it knocked him out for nearly a month, forcing him to withdraw from the winner’s only Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January, which he secured his place after winning the RBC Heritage in April 2019.

 “It goes back to right after the Presidents Cup where I played really well there. The whole week, when I would hit a shot, I never imagined I could hit those type of shots but I still did it because I had to (for the team). Being able to accomplish that meant I had become a better golfer,” said Pan.

 “But after that, I got sick. I was coughing every night for nearly 20 days and it affected my sleep and my body didn’t get the rest which I needed in between seasons,” he continued. “It really snowballed and it was pretty severe. Between flying back to Taipei and the U.S., the jetlag didn’t help and I didn’t recover. I was disappointed to miss the Sentry Tournament of Champions as my wife (Michelle) and I were meant to get there on December 27, celebrate our wedding anniversary the next day before playing play in the tournament. I’ve always wanted to play there.”

 With poor health hampering his practice time and preparation, Pan’s subsequent return to PGA TOUR life led to four missed cuts from five starts during the first quarter of 2020. Then, the coronavirus pandemic shut down all sports leagues in mid-March and by the time the TOUR resumed play in June, Pan’s golf swing was in such disarray that he would go on to miss four more cuts over nine remaining starts, with a best finish of T44 coming in mid-July at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.

 “Technically, I lost the foundation of my golf swing,” Pan said. “I couldn’t find a way to hit the ball even though I tried to go back to my fundamentals. I couldn’t get it back and this doesn’t happen to me often. I struggled with my long game and my putting was a struggle too which isn’t a good combo.

 “It was only last August that I finally found the reason why I couldn’t play well,” he added. “It was an issue with my posture where my back was slumping, which meant I was using more arms with my backswing instead of rotating with the body. It was a quick fix and by the time the new (2020-21) season started in September, I felt better with my swing and worked really hard to get it back to where I was comfortable hitting the ball and solved my putting stroke too.”

 He ended the year on a strong note following that memorable top-10 at Augusta National Golf Club, which was the best finish by a Chinese Taipei golfer at the fabled event. “I had such a great performance and the top-10 finish meant a lot as it was a struggling year for me,” said Pan.

 Though speed and power are all the talk on TOUR these days, Pan does not plan to join the race to gain more distance. A relatively short hitter, Pan reckons he can find more success with his tried-and-tested style of play, which is finding fairways and greens in regulation.

 “Watching someone like Bryson (DeChambeau) hitting balls at the range, it’s so entertaining and it’s a great skill for him to be able do that. I can’t imagine how many hours of practice on and off the golf course he’s had to do to get to where he is, and also the data analytics behind it all,” said Pan, who currently ranks a lowly 150th in Driving Distance this season with an average 292.5 yards, or 267 meters.

“I wish I (could) do it, but physically, I’ve got a small frame and it’s impossible to do so,” he said. “I’ll stick to my plan, just keep to the traditional game and play the golf course, work on my short game and putting which I need to win a golf tournament again.”

Ratchanok gains sweet revenge over arch-rival Nehwal #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Ratchanok gains sweet revenge over arch-rival Nehwal

Jan 20. 2021Ratchanok Intanon Ratchanok Intanon

By THE NATION

Thai badminton ace Ratchanok Intanon and mixed doubles specialists Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai drew cheers around the country as they surged into the second round of the $1-million Toyota Thailand Open II in Muang Thong Thani on Tuesday.

Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai 

Two-time champion Ratchanok, a quarter-finalist in last week’s Thailand Open I, dictated play with an impressive all-court game to beat India’s former world No 1 Saina Nehwal for the first time in five years. She had lost her previous five matches to Nehwal.

“I felt a bit of pressure at first because I’ve lost to her so many times before. But I learned from those experiences,” said the 2012 and 2017 Thailand Open champion.

“Newhal is one of the players I try to copy. She’s fast, but today I made her run as much as possible as her footwork wasn’t as strong as usual,” added Ratchanok, who fell in the quarter-final last week to South Korean teenager An Se-young.

“I’ll try to forget what happened [last week] and hope to at least reach the semi-final this week.”

In the mixed doubles, Dechapol and Sapsiree rode momentum from their first home title together on Sunday to stretch their winning streak to six matches with a 21-14, 21-19 win over 2019 Dutch Open winners Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek of the Netherlands.

Also advancing to the second round were Supak Jomkoh and Kitinupong Kedren in the men’s doubles. In only their second international event together, the Thai duo came from behind to beat Malaysia’s world No 28 Goh Sze Fel and Nur Izzuddin 13-21, 21-13, 21-17.

However, other Thai players headed to the exit early on Tuesday.

In the men’s singles, Sitthikom Thammasin went down 21-11, 21-11 to India’s Kidambi Srikanth, while Khosit Phetpradab was tamed 21-13, 21-13 by Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito.

In the women’s singles, Supanida Katethong succumbed 21-16, 21-11 to Taiwan’s top-seeded Tai Tzu Ying, while Sirada Roongpiboonsopit was crushed 21-9, 21-8 by Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung and Busanan Ongbamrungphan went down 21-17, 21-13 to India’s sixth-seeded Pusarla V Sindhu.