Thailand Open: Katethong Proves She Belongs

The significance of the TOYOTA Thailand Open 2024 quarterfinal victory to Supanida Katethong cannot be overstated, according to the player herself.

Not because it’s her first semifinal above the Super 300 level in over a year. Not because she ended a five-year wait to beat her opponent. And not because she’s finally through to a Thailand Open semifinal.

Rather, the last four berth comes just two months out from the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, into which she snuck towards the tail-end of the qualifying window. And that it was achieved against a player of Gregoria Mariska Tunjung’s calibre was another timely morale booster.

“It’s such a meaningful win. It shows I’m capable of reaching the next level,” stressed the 26-year-old lefthander, currently the world No.16. “It tells me I can compete against the top 10 players, and that I deserve my place at the Olympics. It gives me a lot of belief with Paris just round the corner.

“Obviously there’s a lot to improve on but I’ll work hard in training – there’s about 20 per cent left to reach the best version of Supanida.”

Katethong took pride in the way she accomplished the 14-21 22-20 22-20 win – her first over Tunjung since 2017, ironically, at the same venue and tournament. Having dropped the opener, she raced from 16-13 down to salvage the second game, then saved a match point in the third before sealing the deal.

“It was high pressure and got uncomfortable at times. Tunjung’s style isn’t my favourite to play against, she’s very tricky and her wristwork is really good. You can’t afford to switch off,” said Katethong.

“I didn’t stop believing and my coach’s feedback was a big help. I managed to stay calm and focused in difficult moments.”

Katethong will be among a host of first-time Olympians in France. Outside the qualifying places as recent as late March – a month before the Race to Paris concluded – her runner-up finish at the Spain Masters meant she picked up just about enough points to win her golden ticket and accompany Ratchanok Intanon to the Summer Games.

Consequently, Thailand became only the fourth nation after Korea, China and Japan to have two women’s singles representatives in Paris.

But first, in the shape of second seed Wang Zhi Yi awaits a test Katethong is yet to ace after three attempts. Win that, and the Paris 2024 confidence bank swells further.

Results (Day 4)

Order of play (Day 5)


“We realise we are underdogs but we’ve got more confidence from our breakthrough here and knowing our hard work in training over the last month has been beneficial.” – Jhenicha Sudjaipraparat after she and Ruttanapak Oupthong reached their first World Tour semifinal

“Good defence, good control and a lot of running.” – Chou Tien Chen on what he must do against Lee Zii Jia

“This should be the start of my comeback. I will not treat this as the final chapter. Although I couldn’t make the Olympics, I’m only 30 years old. I can go on for a few more years.” – Ng Ka Long Angus believes his injury problems are behind him

Chou is 5-4 ahead in career meetings with Lee.

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