Former top-ranked Ratchanok thrashes Indian superstar PV Sindhu

Dene-Hern CHEN
·2-min read
Ratchanok Intanon's (pictured here) swift and graceful defence saw India's PV Sindhu left rudderless by the second set

Former world champion Ratchanok Intanon thrashed Indian superstar PV Sindhu on Friday in a swift 21-13, 21-9 game, halting her ascent into the semi-finals of badminton's Thailand Open.

The two players -- both beloved in their home countries -- were expected to have a well-matched showdown, with Sindhu having beaten the fourth-seeded Thai player in their last encounter in 2018.

But she was no match for Ratchanok's swift and graceful defence, which left one of the world's highest-paid athlete rudderless by the second set.

"If I had won the first game, I think things would have been comparatively different," said Sindhu, who admitted it just wasn't her day.

Her disappointing show on court comes after last week's surprise early exit in first of three consecutive events in Bangkok that culminate in next week's World Tour finals.

Ratchanok will face top-ranked Tai Tzu-ying in the semi-finals, who will be attempting a comeback after her loss in last week's tournament finals to Spain's Carolina Marin.

Marin continued her winning streak Friday, disposing of Turkey's Neslihan Yigit in a quick 21-6, 21-15 victory.

But she said she was impressed with the 32nd-ranked Yigit -- the sole Turkish player to make the quarter-finals at a Super 100 tournament.

"I hope that more European players will be playing badminton at this level," Marin said.

She will be facing off in the semi-finals against South Korean An Se-young, a formidable teenager who was awarded "Most Promising Player" in 2019.

They already duelled in last week's tournament, with the more experienced Marin winning 21-18, 21-16.

The 18-year-old, ranked ninth in the world, said she would need to up her mental game in preparation for their showing on Saturday.

"If I want to win against Marin, I need to focus more than last time and have more confidence," An said, after she disposed of Thai player Pornpawee Chochuwong in a 21-15, 21-18 match full of smashes and attacks.

Meanwhile India's Sameer Verma put up a strong fight earlier in the day against third-ranked Anders Antonsen, whose return to the court comes after he suffered a twisted ankle in March.

The three-set thriller had both players dive-bombing for the shuttlecock before Antonsen eked out a 21-13, 19-21, 22-20 win.

"Sameer is a warrior. He fought really hard," said the third seed Dane, who admitted that Verma, ranked 31st in the world, came "very close" to beating him.

The athletes have been facing off under tight biosecurity because of the coronavirus pandemic, and without spectators, although the tournaments have been blighted by four positive coronavirus cases.