Wangcharoen Strikes Early but Indonesia Prevail

Shesar Hiren Rhustavito was last man standing in a tense duel against Thailand, as he helped Indonesia to a 3-2 result in Group A at the TotalEnergies BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020.

Indonesia veered on the edge through most of the tie before Rhustavito’s late escape act; a loss would have proved disastrous to Indonesia’s Thomas Cup ambitions are they are in the Group of Death with Thailand and Chinese Taipei.

 Wangcharoen Proves a Point

Kantaphon Wangcharoenn was last in the news for his bronze medal at the TOTAL BWF World Championships in August 2019. Since then, excepting a couple of Super 300 tournaments, the Thai has fallen in the first or second round of 15 tournaments.

An emotional moment for Kantaphon Wangcharoen.

It was little wonder that the flood of pent-up emotions burst after the 23-year-old struck first blood for Thailand against Indonesia, as he edged Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in a thrilling contest.

The match had gone the distance, 88 minutes, with Wangchaoren saving one match point in the second game and three in the third. Even in the tense closing stages, his smashes had sting and were on point. Ginting wasn’t allowed the window he sought.

“I wanted to prove myself. I feel like people doubt me. My management feel like I didn’t practice enough and I told them that that wasn’t it. And today, I proved that I am good enough,” the Thai said.

Wangchaoren dwelt on the frustrations of the last few months, and his thoughts of giving up the game. Ginting was his first top 10 victim since his big moment at the World Championships two years ago.

“After the World Championships I had a lot of problems, with practising and so on. I wanted to give up so many times, but this just proved to me that I can win again.

“I’m really happy. It’s been a while since my last win against someone of higher ranking. I want to thank myself for not giving up.”

Minions Survive Close Contest

Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.

Thailand’s lead was neutralised by Indonesia through Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, who flirted with danger through the first two games against Supak Jomkoh/Kittinupong Kedren before easing through in the end.

The Thais were a game and 12-8 up and the match was slipping out of control of the Minions. Sukamuljo drifted in and out, but Gideon was the workhorse, throwing all his energy into a desperate last stand to swing things Indonesia’s way.

Wangchaoren’s younger compatriot and rising star Kunlavut Vitidsarn took up the baton and repeated his performance from the Sudirman Cup last week against Jonatan Christie, powering through in straight games.

The tie went down to the fifth match after Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto ran through their men’s doubles match in just 30 minutes, leaving the stage for Rhustavito to take on Namkul.

In other ties on the day, Indonesia beat France 4-1, Japan beat Germany 5-0 (both Uber Cup Group A), Chinese Taipei beat Tahiti 5-0, Korea beat Egypt (both Uber Cup Group C), and Chinese Taipei beat Algeria 5-0 (Thomas Cup Group A).

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