World No.238 Pichamon Phatcharaphisutsin/Nannapas Sukklad claimed the biggest upset of the Singapore Open 2022 first round – and their careers – by outwitting third seeds Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva in three games.
The Thai women’s pair, who next face Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma/Amalia Cahaya Pratiwi, defeated their world No.9 opponents 21-13 17-21 21-18 at the tournament that is back after a three-year pandemic-enforced hiatus.
Sukklad, 24, revealed senior compatriots Rawinda Prajongjai/Jongkolphan Kititharakul prepared them for the bout with the Bulgarian sisters. Prajongjai/Kititharakul have won two of the most recent clashes with the Stoevas.
“Our seniors guide us a lot. During practice yesterday, they gave us some tips and it helped,” said Sukklad. “It was all teamwork. We only wanted to fight for the best result. Next match, we will discuss with the coach and fight the same way again.”
Earlier, Olympic champions Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin won their first match since contracting COVID in Malaysia, beating Norway’s Torjus Flaatten/Vegard Rikheim 21-10 21-14 in 24 minutes.
“We are not 100 per cent yet so we are taking one match at a time. We don’t want to overexert ourselves. We hope to regain our fitness with each passing day,” said Lee.
Wang added: “Last week was a good opportunity to isolate and rest. We try to conserve our energy to put up a good show for our fans.”
Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin, who also had to withdraw from the PERODUA Malaysia Masters 2022 due to COVID, combined with Teo Ee Yi to clear the first round against Supak Jomkoh/Kittinupong Kedren 21-14 21-14.
Ong said: “I’m not fully recovered. I’m surprised I left the court quite tired, maybe the lung is still healing and I have nasal congestion. Nevertheless, I try to do my best.”
Ong and Teo take on Lu Ching Yao–Yang Po Han in the second round on Thursday. They trail the Chinese Taipei pair, who got also past Joshua Magee/Paul Reynolds in straight games, 2-1 in the head-to-head.