Six matches over three years is the longest stretch Ratchanok Intanon has gone without a win in her fascinating rivalry with Tai Tzu Ying.
Although the head-to-head stood at 18-14 in favour of Tai before the Denmark Open 2022 quarterfinals, Intanon had not beaten her Chinese Taipei opponent since a last four success at the 2019 Korea Open.
And very late in the second game at Jyske Bank Arena – after she had lost the first 21-10 – it seemed Intanon’s wait was to be prolonged. The Thai, however, saved two match points and went on a four-point run to force a decider. In the rubber, she led from start to the 21-16 finish.
“It’s never over until it’s over. Even at 20-18 down, I kept telling myself I can still win,” said the 2017 winner.
“After that, I was successful at making her play my game. I knew if I didn’t let her take control, I’d be fine and that’s what happened.
“I lost the last six to her but I didn’t let that play in my mind before the match. My focus was to stay strong and break her confidence by not giving up.”
While her recent results against the world No.2 have been poor, Intanon keeps her record of never losing to Tai on Danish soil after three meetings.
“Maybe the conditions here suit my style. Or maybe I have better luck in Odense,” laughed the 27-year-old, whose semifinal opponent is Chen Yu Fei. The Chinese defeated Intanon’s compatriot Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-17 21-19.
Earlier, mixed pair Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie also ended their wait for a win against Japanese second seeds Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino.
“Feels extraordinary to get it after four defeats. None of them were close fights, we lost all in straight games,” said Lai after the 21-18 21-14 victory.
Goh and Lai take on third seeds Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong tomorrow.