The Thai sisters were the picture of pronounced composure in their 17-21 25-23 21-14 ousting of top seeds Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara from the VICTOR Hong Kong Open 2023 quarterfinals, salvaging the tie from two match points down in the second game.
In the decider, they never relinquished the lead after going 3-2 ahead for their first win in four meetings with the Japanese world No.7s.
The success booked them a semifinal with Tan Pearly/Thinaah Muralitharan, who a few minutes earlier picked up their fifth victory (15-21 21-14 21-19) in as many encounters against the Aimsaards’ compatriots Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai.
Younger sister Benyapa was clear on what won them the match.
“It was all about shuttle control. This is a fast hall but we had great control of the shuttle and it frustrated our opponents,” said the 21-year-old. “It helped we didn’t have any expectations for this match. That took away the pressure and we were able to focus on one point at a time.”
Nuntakarn, three years older, added: “Our defence was solid and the transitions to attack were swift. We are pleased with ourselves for defending well, especially from the back court. We could set up a few crucial front-court winners due to that.”
The world No.11s, one of the form pairs of 2022, are on a comeback trail after Benyapa’s knee injury early this year disrupted their progress. Between their Thailand Masters title at the start of February and their second place finish at May’s Thailand Open, the sisters exited all their three HSBC BWF World Tour events in the first round. Benyapa’s healing knee coincided with their improved form as they made the quarterfinals at the Canada and Australian Opens.
Although they are back in their first semifinal in three months, the Aimsaards only have their sights fixed on the next match.
“Yes we’ve beaten the top seeds and it’s our first win against them but we don’t want to be satisfied. We want to be better tomorrow,” said Benyapa.
“Pearly and Thinaah are known for their attacks and strong smashes. Our defensive work must surpass today’s efforts. We also want to be the more offensive pair.”
Tan/Muralitharan won their only clash back in 2021, in the Thailand Open first round.