THREE-TIME world junior champion Ratchanok Intanon restored the battered pride of her nation when she became the first Thai to reach a final in the World Championships.
And the 18-year-old Ratchanok did it in super style, ending Indian giant-killer P.V. Sindhu’s gallant run with a 21-10, 21-13 win in a 36-minute semi-final showdown.
Ratchanok will take on top seed Li Xuerui of China in today’s final and is highly motivated to become Thailand’s first world champion.
Her historic march to the final could not have come at a better time following the ugly brawl involving two of Thailand’s men’s doubles players – Bodin Issara and Maneepong Jongjit – in the final of last month’s Canadian Open. Bodin is serving a two-year ban while Maneepong is suspended for three months by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
“This is good news for my country. I know that the whole nation is supporting me. Thai people have forgiven the two players. Now, I want to bring good news to them,” said Ratchanok.
Ratchanok will be aiming to become the first non-China player in 14 years to win the crown. Camilla Martin of Denmark was the last player to achieve the feat in 1999.
”I have just recovered from a foot injury. I hurt my foot and had to withdraw from the Indonesian Open. For the last one month, I had been training hard,” said Ratchanok
“I think Sindhu was nervous today. She did not play well. I came prepared because she had beaten China’s Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian.
“I have beaten Xuerui before, at the US Open in 2011. But she has improved now. I must be strong. I will give my best to become a world champion,” added Ratchanok.