The YONEX SUNRISE India Open was where it all began for the Aimsaard sisters.
When they arrived in India last year, they were an unknown quantity at No.45 in the rankings.
Having emerged surprise winners in a weakened field, the Aimsaards went on to have quite a year. After making five more finals in 2022 – including the Korea Open and the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2022 – they are now recognised as one of the pairs to watch at every event.
On Thursday they scored another big result, taking down seventh seeds Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan 21-18 21-19.
“Today we played without feeling any pressure, we focussed point by point and followed the coach’s plan,” said Benyapa Aimsaard.
“I’m really happy to come to India again. This year many top pairs have come, so we want to try our best.
“We’d trained hard for our win last year. But we try not think too much about that win, we just keep want to go forward. As sisters we understand each other, we know who’s going for each shot, and we trust each other. We are together all the time, so we talk all the time about badminton.”
By the end of the second round, the Aimsaard sisters were the last defending champions left in the draw.
Thursday was a bad day for the defending champions as Lakshya Sen fell in a fierce contest to Rasmus Gemke; Busanan Ongbamrungphan to compatriot Pornpawee Chochuwong, while in men’s doubles, an injury to Satwiksairaj Rankireddy ruled out the Indian titlists. Last year’s mixed doubles winners Terry Hee/Tan Wei Han had earlier crashed out in the opening round.