Porntip won a comprehensive 21-14, 21-16 victory in her match against Ukraine’s Marija Ulitina. Her win came 30 minutes after the stunning victory in straight sets by Japan’s world No.10 Akane Yamaguchi over No.2 Ratchanok.
The defeat in the round of 16 ended Ratchanok’s Rio 2016 Olympic medal dreams even before she reached the quarter-finals.
Ratchanok never had her game together against the Japanese challenger, who was clearly better on the day.
She dropped the first set to Yamaguchi by 19-21, and lost the second by 16-21.
It was the first time the Japanese has beaten her Thai opponent in their last three meetings and evens their career head-to-head at five wins each.
“I’m happy to have won, but I’m even happier that I get to play another match at the Olympics. The cheering from the crowd was encouraging and I was able to play aggressively,” the 19-year-old Yamaguchi said.
Photographed moments after the match ended, the Thai appeared in shock and near tears from her loss. Before she left for Rio on Aug 1, she promised to return with a medal.
Porntip is an experienced player, who won her first international tournament in 2008 in Japan.
She has no easy road to a medal. She next faces world No.3 Li Xuerui of China, the defending Olympic champion and often described as the world’s best women’s badminton player.
Li won a bye and did not play in the round of 16. A final schedule is pending, but they will play tomorrow evening (Aug 17), Thailand time.
The two 25-year-olds faced each other in April at the China Masters, with Li coming out ahead, 21-14, 22-20. Porntip’s lifetime record against Li is 3-9.
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