World No14 badminton player Nguyen Tien Minh qualified for the SCG Thailand Grand Prix Gold’s semis after beating his host rival Saensomboonsuk Tanongsak 21-16, 21-17 in the quarter-final game on July 24.
Thousands of Vietnamese fans put pressure on the Thai player who lost a lot of points as he could not move fast enough to save Minh’s volleys. Saensomboonsuk nearly levelled the score at 17-15 in both sets, but the Vietnamese player came back for a victory in the 39th minute.
Minh will take on another Thai rival, Pakkawat Vilailak, who surprised the crowd on July 24 be defeating No4 seed Wei Ng of Hong Kong 21-12, 21-11 in the earlier match.
Also in the men’s singles event, third seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand defeated Chan Yun Lung from Hong Kong 21-4, 21-12. Top player Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia found no challenge in beating No6 Hong Kong’s Hu Yun 21-13, 21-19.
On the women’s side, No3 Salakjit Ponsana of Thailand met with great resistance fro No7 seed Zhang Beiwen from Singapore. Ponsana l;ed the first set 21-16 but ran into difficulties in the second set when Zhang came back to win 21-19.
The third set was a crowd-pleaser, where both sides showed off their technique and skills to grab points, but Ponsana took the advantage in the last minutes to win 21-19.