World No. 1 and top seed Japan’s Kento Momota’s withdrawal from the TOYOTA Thailand Open 2019 due to a strained left thigh muscle leaves the door open for teammates Kanta Tsuneyama and Kenta Nishimoto to shine. And shine they did.
It took 66 minutes of hard-fought play before Tsuneyama won against Sourabh Verma of India 23-21 19-21 21-5.
“I played two long qualifying matches yesterday and now this one went long too. He (Tsuneyama) started out fresh and he moved well on court today. At this stage, no one expects these matches to be easy but by the third, I just could not push myself anymore,” said Verma.
Nishimoto took out old guard Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia, 21-17 21-11. Nishimoto will take on H.S Prannoy of India while Tsuneyama will play Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin in Round 2 on Thursday.
“It was kind of up and down for me and I was not serving well but Satwik really stepped up and took control. He worked so hard and was so level headed throughout. He took advantage of the gaps in their game. We were also communicating really well,” said Ponnappa.
“We were confident going into this match. The last time we played against them was tough but today they seemed under pressure, and nervous almost. I used that to play more freely but we did not take any risks,” said Rankireddy.
Match of the Day
An seemed to get off to a sluggish start, conceding the first game 12-21. She attempted a more energetic comeback in the second but Chen was in top form and took the match 21-17.
“I just did not play well today and she did,” said An, who has risen through the ranks and made a big impact when she defeated the then World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei at the Sudirman Cup earlier this year.
With Korea having such high expectations of the 17-year-old, An applies a very practical approach to her capabilities. “No matter who I have to play against, I just convince myself that each match is a learning experience because I am still so young,” said An.
“My opponent was well prepared and I made some early mistakes but then I relaxed and decided to play my usual game so that I will be comfortable. This tournament will be just as tough as any other no matter who is competing and I intend to get the best results possible to get points to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.” – Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, after winning against Yvonne Li of Germany 21-13 21-8 in the women’s singles.
In the women’s doubles, French pair Delphine Delrue/Lea Palermo ousted local girls Chasinee Karepop/Kwanchanok Sudjaipraparat 21-16, 21-16. “We expected this to be tough because they are young and we had no background to assess their ability so we just focused on playing our own game,” said Palermo.
China’s Chen Long bowed out to Chinese Taipei’s Wan Tzu Wei 21-13 21-18 but Lin Dan advanced after Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihinsanon retired due to an injury to his right hand, leaving the score at 21-17 11-8.