Nozomi Okuhara faces PV Sindhu in Thailand Open, rematch of World Championships final

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Nozomi Okuhara books rematch with PV Sindhu in the 2018 Thailand Open final. (photo: AFP)
Nozomi Okuhara books rematch with PV Sindhu in the 2018 Thailand Open final. (photo: AFP)

Bangkok: Women’s singles No. 4 seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan will face No. 2 seed PV Sindhu of India, the opponent she defeated in a hard-fought three-set battle in the 2017 World Championships final, to decide who takes home the 2018 Thailand Open title on Sunday.

Sunday’s final between Okuhara and Sindhu will be an intriguing showdown, after the Japanese player breezed past Zhang Beiwen of USA 21-17, 21-10 at the Nimibutr National Stadium on Saturday.

“I was hoping to play at some warm-up tournaments before the World Championships and I am really excited to be in the final again. It’s been a long time,” said Okuhara.

After dropping the second set, the Indian shuttler, PV Sindhu, overcame a resilient Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia 23-21, 16-21, 21-9 in the semi-finals to clinch a final berth in a one-hour match.

“I was a little bit nervous and lost my focus in the second set. Luckily, I was able to regroup and play better badminton in the decider,” said Sindhu.

The unseeded Tommy Sugiarto has advanced to the men’s singles final after his 21-15, 21-12 victory over local shuttler Suppanyu Avihingsanon. Sugiarto has never lost a match at the exact venue since winning the Thailand Masters in January 2018.

“I really like the city, that’s why I always have good focus and motivation every time I come here. I’ll need to be more prepared for the final tomorrow,” said Sugiarto.

Besides badminton, Sugiarto also running the ISTC resort, a family owned business, in Sukabumi, 100m south of Jakarta.

Sugiarto will meet 22-year-old Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan in the final. Tsuneyama staved off a match point to defeat Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia 21-13, 14-21, 23-21 for his first final on the BWF Tour.

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