The third BWF World Tour 2020 event and the first Super 300 tournament of the year, Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters, concluded on Sunday with finals across all five categories being played. The most important result was Akane Yamaguchi of Japan winning in the women’s singles division.
The Japanese shuttler had endured a tough time in the second half of last year and hadn’t been in great form this year also. But in this tournament, she finally managed to turn things around by defeating Olympic Champion Carolina Marin in the semi-final and the rising young Korean star An Se-young in the final.
Yamaguchi won the title contest in straight games 21-16, 22-20. She led from the early stage of the first game and never relinquished the lead to go 1-0 up. As expected, the South Korean teenager fought harder in the second game and was 15-11 up at one point.
But the tenacious Yamaguchi justified her top-seeding for this event by coming back and getting to match point. This was saved but the next time she had a match point, the Japanese sealed the game to earn a World Tour title after a long time.
In the men’s singles final, a three-game match ensued between Ng Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong and Kenta Nishimoto of Japan. Angus came back after losing the first game to win 16-21, 21-13, 21-12. The match lasted for 1 hour and four minutes.
It was after a long time that the Hong Kong player reached the final of a World Tour event and his rare victory would be all the more sweeter since he had also seen off second-seeded Shi Yuqi.
In doubles, the top-seeds in the women’s singles division – Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan of China – secured a convincing win over their South Korean opponents Baek Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun despite going down in the first game. The scoreline read 17-21, 21-17, 21-15.
The only non-Asian competitors on the final day – England’s Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith – triumphed in the mixed doubles category by beating Indonesia’s higher seeded Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja 21-16, 13-21, 21-16.
The last match of the day, men’s doubles final, witnessed Malaysia's Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi taking on China's Huang Kai Xiang and Liu Cheng. The Malaysians lost the first game but came back strongly to win 18-21, 21-17, 21-17.