Thai shuttler Ratchanok makes hat-trick of Superseries titles

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Singapore, April 17 (IANS) Thailand’s badminton star Ratchanok Intanon clinched her hat-trick of World Superseries titles when she beat Chinese Sun Yu in the final of the Singapore Open here on Sunday.

The former world champion battled past world No.14 Sun 18-21, 21-11, 21-14 in an hour and nine minutes. It was the 21-year-old’s fifth win in six meetings with Sun.

“Today I made many mistakes and so did my opponent but I managed to get back into the game earlier than her,” Ratchanok was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The World No.2 won in the Indian Open on April 3 and the Malaysian Open last week. And with the Singapore title, she became the first women’ s singles shuttler to win three straight titles in a month.

On March 31, Ratchanok was ranked fifth. And come Thursday, thanks to her heroics in three weeks, she will replace Carolina Marin of Spain as the top-ranked women’s singles player.

“I just tried to relax. My target was to be world No. 1 and now I’m looking forward to the Olympics where I want to win the gold medal for Thailand,” she said.

In the men’s singles final, Indonesian world No. 56 Sony Kuncoro continued his dream run as he prevailed over world No.10 Son Wan Ho 21-16, 13-21, 21-14 in an hour and three minutes.

Kuncoro, 31, who qualified for the main draw after two wins in the qualifying rounds, was riding on the confidence from usurping two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan of China just a day earlier as he cruised to a win in his first game 21-16.

But a second game riddled with Kuncoro’s errors saw Son take advantage and win 21-13 as the match went to rubber. Then Kuncoro dug deep and showed just why he had deserved a place in the final, storming to a 21-14 win in the tiebreaker.

Kuncoro, who played six matches prior to the final, said: “It’ s really unexpected that I won.”

“It’ s such a big achievement to pass the qualifiers and win this tournament. I just enjoyed today’ s game and was able to play well.”

In the men’s doubles, fourth seeded Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan of China moved past Japan’s Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 21-11, 22-20 in 42 minutes.

The mixed doubles title went to South Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na, who knocked out China’s Xu Chen and Ma Jin 21-17, 21-14 in 40 minutes.

In the women’s doubles final, Indonesia’s Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii got a walkover from Misaki Matsumoto and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan.

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