Thailand stunned defending champions China 3-1 in the semi-finals to reach their first-ever final in the Badminton Asia Junior Mixed Team Championships in dramatic fashion at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre in Suzhou, China on Monday.
The Thais will play Indonesia in the final on Tuesday. The Indonesians defeated Korea also by a 3-1 margin. Both, Indonesia and Thailand have never won the mixed team title.
The Thais seeded third, took the first two points by winning the men’s singles through Kunlavut Vitidsarn and the women’s singles through Phittayaporn Chaiwan. Kunlavut defeated Li Yun Ze 21-15, 21-16 while Phittayaporn came through three games 17-21, 21-16, 21-17 in a 63-minute match against Zhou Meng.
It was a match which saw Phittayaporn overcome cramps in the decider. In fact, she snatched the winner with a smash when she could hardly move and had to be helped off the court by her coaches.
China pulled one back by taking the men’s doubles when Di Zi Jian-Wang Chang easily defeated Tanadon Punpanich-Sirawit Sothon 21-10, 21-14 to give the home team hopes of staying on course for the ninth mixed team title.
However, women’s doubles Benyapa Aimsaard-Peeraya Khantaruangsakul broke the hearts of the Chinese to clinch the winning point with a straight game 21-19, 21-11 win over China’s Luo Xu Min-Zhou Xin Ru. It left the Chinese camp shell shocked.
Losing on home turf was certainly a big disappoint for China, more so when this is the first time in the history of the Asian Junior Championships the tournament is played on Chinese soil.
“To beat the champions in China is something we can be proud of. We are overjoyed but the mission is not over yet” said Thailand coach Udom Luangphetcharaporn.
In the same breath, Udom revealed that if China had won the women’s doubles Thailand would have lost the tie as Phittayaporn, who was also down to play in the mixed doubles with Kunlavut was in no position to play.
“We would have lost the semi-finals if it had gone down the wire,” added Udom.
Indonesia came to the tournament as the top seeds and is left thrilled to reach the final.
Team manager David Yedija Pohan said: “We came well prepared for this tournament and to reach the final means we are one step away from the title.
“But it will not be a walk in the park. Thailand has shown that it is capable of winning the title. We will not underrate our opponents. For now, we will work out a strategy to complete our mission.
Indonesia won the mixed doubles through Leo Rolly Carnando-Indah Cahya Sari Jamil who beat Ki Dong Ju-Lee Eun Ji 23-21, 21-15. Park Hyeon Seung made it all square when he won the men’s singles against Christian Adinata 18-21, 21-17, 20-22.
Putri Kusuma Wardani regained the lead for Indonesia with a 21-14, 21-14 win over Kim Ga Lam in the women’s singles before Nita Violina Marwah-Putri Syaikah clinched the winning point with a 21-18, 21-16 win over Ji Young Bin-Lee Eun Ji in the women’s doubles. Badminton Asia
THAILAND 3 CHINA 1
Kunlavut Vitidsarn beat Li Yun Ze 21-15, 21-16
Phittayaporn Chaiwan beat Zhou Meng 17-21, 21-16, 21-17
Tanadon Punpanich-Sirawat Sothon lost to Di Zi Jian-Wang Chang 10-21, 14-21
Benyapa Aimsaard-Peerayya Khantaruangsakul beat Luo Xu Min-Zhou Xin Ru 21-19, 21-11
INDONESIA 3 KOREA 1
Leo Rolly Carnando -Indah Cahya Sari Jamil beat Ki Dong Ju-Lee Eun Ji 23-21, 21-15
Christain Adinata lost to Park Hyeon Seung 18-21, 21-17, 22-22
Putri Kusuma Wardani beat Kim Ga Lam 21-14, 21-14
Nita Violina Marwah-Putri Syaikah beat Ji Young Bin-Lee Eun Ji 21-18, 21-16