The Thai pair won seven straight points in the second game as they defeated Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue of France 21-15, 21-17 to seal their third straight trip to the final in as many weeks at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani, yesterday (Jan 30).
They will meet Seo Seung-Jae and Chae Yu-Jung of South Korea, who beat Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai of Malaysia 21-19, 21-8 in today’s title match.
“They [Gicquel and Delrue] played well today. They had a good start but we tried to be more aggressive and that worked out quite well,” said Sapsiree.
“We hope the fans will cheer us on in the final tomorrow. We will try to do our best to win the title,” she added.
Meanwhile, Carolina Marin and Tai Tzu-ying will square off in the women’s singles title match for the third consecutive today.
Marin will also be vying for her third straight Super 1000 crown, and while the Spaniard will be favoured to repeat her two wins over Tai over the last fortnight, the world No.1’s form yesterday suggested a closer contest than the last two.
The sixth-ranked Marin proved too strong for local hope Pornpawee Chochuwong, storming past the Thai world No.13 21-13, 21-13 in 40 minutes to reach her third final in as many weeks.
Pornpawee, making her debut in the season-ending tournament, was hampered by an ankle injury and was unable to reproduce the kind of form that saw her beat Ratchanok Intanon and Tai in the group stage.
The 27-year-old Marin, who is on the cusp of a special achievement, anticipates that she has the edge as Tai has had a harder time this week in her group matches.
“I’m happy with my performance. Tai and me will play our third final in a row, so it’s tough but I’m looking forward to the final. I’m really happy and I want to give my best and will try to enjoy it,” said Marin, the reigning Olympic champion.
“It’s going to be one more game, we played two weeks ago and a week ago, and tomorrow’s a new day, a new match, and it’s going to be different. She’s playing well, but I think it’s been tough for her because she lost more games than me. She’s looking a bit tired, I think. Let’s see how the match goes.”
Earlier, Tai also had little trouble against 18-year-old An Se-Young, beating the Korean rising star 21-18, 21-12 in 37 minutes.
“My performance today wasn’t too bad, I told myself before entering the match that I needed to play patiently because An Se-Young is a player who doesn’t make mistakes easily. I hope that I can prepare well for tomorrow’s final. Everyone is tired because we’re in the third week and I just wish to focus now and be patient,” said Tai, 26.
The men’s singles final will be an all-Danish affair between Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen.
Antonsen advanced to the final after a tough 21-18, 14-21, 21-16 win over No.12 Wang Tzu-wei of Taiwan while Axelsen eased past Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan 21-16, 21-9.
Axelsen is also chasing his third straight Super 1000 title.
In the women’s doubles, Jongkolphan Kittitharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai’s bid to reach the title decider ended at the hands of Korean rivals Kim So-Yeong and Kong Hee-Yong, who won their semi-final match 21-11, 12-21, 21-16 in 69 minutes.
Kim and Kong will meet fellow Koreans Lee So-Hee and Shin Seung-Chan in today’s championship match after Lee and Shin defeated Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean of Malaysia 21-14, 21-15.
The men’s doubles final will be a battle between Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia and Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin of Taiwan.
Ahsan and Setiawan moved to within one win of defending their Finals crown after they defeated Choi Sol-Gyu and Seo Seung-Jae of South Korea 23-21, 21-13.
In their path will be a pair seeking to achieve history, for Wang Chi-Lin and Lee Yang are in the reckoning for their third Super 1000 title in as many weeks.
Lee and Wang defeated Ben Lane and Sean Vendy of England 22-20, 21-17.