Badminton: Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon conquers Indian star Sindhu

BANGKOK (AFP) – Former world No. 1 Ratchanok Intanon landed a crucial victory over Indian star P.V. Sindhu at badminton’s World Tour Finals in Bangkok on Thursday (Jan 28).

Ratchanok trailed for most of the first game but the ballerina of badminton found her killer instinct and mounted a successful comeback, winning 21-18.

In the second game the 25-year-old Thai claimed the match 21-13.

Both players were coming off an initial loss in the round robin tournament; world number one Tai Tzu-ying beat Sindhu, the Rio Olympics silver medallist, in a three-game thriller on Wednesday.

Meanwhile fifth seed Intanon was also upset in three games on Wednesday by Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong, ranked 13th.

Sindhu, 25, will face another tough match Friday against an in-form Pornpawee, while Ratchanok will have a challenging contest playing Tai.

Earlier Thursday, Spain reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin, looking for a hat-trick of titles, marched towards a swift victory over Canada’s tenth-ranked Michelle Li 21-16, 21-13.

“I think I keep getting better and better,” Marin said.

“I’m better than yesterday for sure. After a month here (in Bangkok), it’s tough mentally, I’ve had two finals in a row, then I’m having to prepare myself again to play in a new tournament this week.”

In the men’s singles, Taiwan’s 12th-ranked Wang Tzu-wei was victorious over India’s 14th-ranked Srikanth Kidambi in a three-game match that went for 78 minutes, finishing 19-21, 21-9, 21-19.

The delayed 2020 season finale is the third tournament behind closed doors in three weeks in Bangkok, as badminton resumes after months of coronavirus cancellations.

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The top eight players in all singles and doubles disciplines are contesting this week’s tournament, although China and Japan are absent because of coronavirus problems.

Despite the strict biosecurity arrangements, four people inside the tournament “bubble” have tested positive, including two players who were forced to withdraw.

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