Thailand Open: Ng-Credible Record Continues

Thailand tends to bring out the best in Ng Ka Long Angus.

The Hong Kong China shuttler won the 2020 Thailand Masters and played in three other finals –Thailand Open in 2019 and 2020 and the Masters last year. Tomorrow, he will contest another one at TOYOTA Thailand Open 2024 after stunning reigning champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn 21-14 18-21 21-19 in a fierce last four battle that lasted 78 minutes.

“I think Thailand is my lucky place,” smiled Ng post-match. “I can’t explain the reason. But I can just play all out here every time and I’m always able to execute what I want.”

Leading 19-15 in the decider, Vitidsarn looked set to keep his title defence alive but Ng was not prepared to throw in the towel. Six winning rallies later, the 29-year-old powered into his fifth Bangkok final in five years.

“Beating him in his hometown makes it extra special,” added Ng. “Kunlavut is skillful and defensively good. I prepared exactly for this kind of match – a long one that would require physical and mental toughness.

“Being down 19-15 to the world champion isn’t easy but I kept telling myself to focus on my strategy and to remember how I prepared.”

Vitidsarn and Ng in action.

Once ranked as high as sixth in the world, Ng’s injuries meant his consistency suffered. Now 27th, he’s in a title match 14 months after lifting the 2023 German Open hoping his injury troubles are truly behind him.

“After last year’s Taipei Open, I suffered a lot of injuries and illness. They set me back and affected my game,” he said.

“But I’ve been working with my new coach for almost 10 months, and I’m happy I finally got a good run here. Hopefully there’s more to come.”

Ng’s final opponent will be Lee Zii Jia, who overcame Chou Tien Chen 18-21 21-12 21-13. Lee acknowledged Ng’s steady work this week.

“He’s been performing quite well here beating the first seed Anders (Antonsen) and the defending champion. Looks like he’s regaining his best form, it will be a difficult match,” said the 2022 winner.

Vitidsarn’s loss meanwhile, prolongs the host nation’s wait for a first back-to-back singles champion.

Chou ends up in Lee’s half attempting to save a net shot.

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