Badminton women’s singles world number two An Se-young continued her stunning season with victory at the final of the Thailand Open in Bangkok on Sunday, overcoming China’s He Bingjiao.
In the men’s final, Kunlavut Vitidsarn triumphed to take Thailand’s first gold medal of the day by beating Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk-yiu, 21-12, 21-10 in just 38 minutes.
The former junior world champion and reigning senior World Championships silver medallist became the first player to win two men’s singles titles on the 2023 BWF World Tour circuit. Till now, every tournament had witnessed a different men’s singles winner, including Priyanshu Rajawat and HS Prannoy of India.
In the women’s singles final, 21-year-old An came out roaring and was in knock-out form throughout the 21-10, 21-19 victory in the Thai capital.
World number five He fought back in the second game – leading briefly by four points – which featured some brilliant net play from both players.
But she could not fend off a gloriously sure-footed performance from the South Korean.
He’s serve failed to clear the net on championship point, giving An her 15th title on the world tour.
“I’m feeling ecstatic,” she told reporters after the match. “Winning another championship makes it feel like another fantastic day.
“It’s a significant milestone for me,” she added.
The South Korean is on a roll, having made the final of every tournament she has played this year and winning titles at the All England Open, India and Indonesia.
Vitidsarn became only the fourth Thai man to win the tournament and enthusiastically thanked the ecstatic crowd, who were noisily behind him all the way.
“I am very happy today,” he told reporters.
He said the energy in the stadium helped him, adding: “I can focus on the game better.”
The world number five, who beat top-ranked Viktor Axelson at the Indian Open in January, played a dominant first game and was troubled only briefly by an unsettled and uneven Lee.
The second game was opened by a beautiful feint from Vitidsarn, 22, tumbling the shuttlecock over the net in a move that disorientated his opponent.
“I think I tried my best,” said a disappointed Lee.
The Hong Konger, ranked 17th in the world and the city’s first medallist in this tournament, fought back with some nail-biting rallies and powerful slams but could not rattle Vitidsarn’s supreme confidence.
Vitidsarn had earlier beaten India’s Lakshya Sen in the semifinal.
In doubles categories, there was disappointment for home fans in two finals as Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai missed out on the mixed doubles title, while the Aimsaard sisters too lost in the title clash. In men’s doubles, China’s Liang Wei Kang and Wang Chang triumphed over Indonesia’s Bagas Mauland and Muhammad Shohibul Fikri, the pair that had defeated the top seeds Satwik-Chirag from India.
Here are the highlights from the doubles matches:
With AFP inputs