Ratchanok to skip Mas­ters

The Nation - - SPORT - LERPONG AMSA-NGIAM

ALL OF the coun­try’s top play­ers ex­cept world No8 Ratchanok In­tanon will be in ac­tion in the US$150,000 Princess Siri­van­navari Thai­land Mas­ters Pre­sented by Toy­ota at the Hua Mark In­door Sta­dium in Bangkok from Jan­uary 8 to 13.

Ratchanok is skip­ping the event to keep her­self fresh for her de­fence of the Super 500 Malaysia Mas­ters the fol­low­ing week. She also has points to de­fend im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards at the In­done­sia Mas­ters, when she where fin­ished run­ner-up last year.

The rest of Thai­land’s star play­ers, in­clud­ing de­fend­ing women’s sin­gles cham­pion Nitchaon Jin­dapol, will test their met­tle in the BWF’s 2019 sea­son-open­ing tour­na­ment which is mov­ing from Su­pacha­la­sai Na­tional Sta­dium to Hua Mark for the first time.

Nitchaon top­pled Porn­pawee Chochu­wong in Jan­uary to be­come the third straight Thai cham­pion in the event, af­ter Ratchanok and Bu­sanan Ong­bam­rung­phan.

On the men’s side, all of the King­dom’s top play­ers, led by world No16 Khosit Phet­pradab, No 17 Kan­taphon Wangcharoen and two-time world ju­nior cham­pion Kunlavut Vi­tid­sarn, will try to be­come the first Thai man to win the Mas­ters ti­tle.

Kan­taphon is the only Thai to even reach the men’s fi­nal –he lost to Tommy Su­gia­rto of In­done­sia, the two-time de­fend­ing cham­pion, in 2017.

Dou­ble Olympic cham­pion and for­mer world No1 Lin Dan of China will also compete and will be aim­ing to cap­ture his sec­ond ti­tle in Bangkok af­ter the 2008 Thai­land Open.

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