Bangkok: The 19-year-old qualifier Leong Jun Hao of Malaysia stormed into the 2018 Thailand Masters final and is within touching distance of his maiden title in senior level as he defeated Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand, 20-22, 21-19, 21-18 in the semi-finals in Bangkok on Saturday.
Leong who won gold at the 2017 Asia Junior Championships, couldn’t hold on to his 20-19 lead in the first set, allowing Wangcharoen to reel off 3 consecutive points to go down 20-22.
The Malaysian then continued to play energetically to force the decider by winning the second set 21-19.
In the high-quality, seesaw third set, Leong managed to turn the tables and dethroned the Thai player 21-18 to win the match in 76 minutes.
“I’ve prepared to the best of my ability, it’s really a tough match,” said Leong.
“Of course I am tired, especially I started playing on Tuesday in the qualifying round. However, I know there’s no easy way to success, I just have to overcome hurdles in front of me,” added Leong.
Leong is set to take on No. 2 seed Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in the final. Sugiarto defeated Malaysia’s independent player Daren Liew 17-21, 21-17, 21-18 in another men’s singles semi-final.
On the other hand, the Rio men’s doubles silver medal and the No. 3 seeds Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong have been knocked out of the tournament by unseeded Tinn Isriyanet/Kittisak Namdash of Thailand 15-21, 20-22 in just 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s No. 5 seeds mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying has eased past Thailand’s Nipitphon Phuangphuapet/Jongkolphan Kititharakul 21-15, 21-11 on Saturday to set up a clash with No. 7 seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Puttita Supajirakul of Thailand in the final.