Dechapol-Sapsiree hope to end title drought this year

Thailand’s mixed doubles Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai in action against Japan’s Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo in the second round of Malaysian Masters at Axiata Arena, Bukit Jalil on Thursday. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

DECHAPOL Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai are keeping their fingers crossed to end their short title drought.

The world No. 3 Thai mixed doubles pair stormed into the quarter-finals after outplaying Japan’s world No. 21 Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsumoto 21-12, 10-21, 21-14 in the second round of the Malaysian Masters at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Dechapol-Sapsiree will face Jiang Zhenbang-Wei Yaxin of China, who upstaged Indonesians Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva in another second-round match, in the quarter-finals today.

Dechapol-Sapsiree were crowned the German Open, Singapore Open and Japan Open winners and clinched silver in the Thailand Open, Malaysian Open and World Tour Finals last year.

They were so accustomed to reaching the final and winning titles, but surprisingly, they have yet to advance to the final in any of the six tournaments that they have competed in this year.

The furthest they’ve gone was the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open, which was their first championship this year.

Dechapol-Sapsiree want to win their first title in Malaysia.

“I’m not worried about our current form and I don’t want to dwell on the good results in the past. I’ve to look forward and focus on the upcoming competitions.

“We’re struggling physically and mentally, and we’re trying to fix and improve every aspect, especially our game and teamwork.

“I hope to reach the final and win.”

Being ranked third in the world, Dechapol-Sapsiree stand a good chance to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics and they intend to stay within the safe zone.

World No. 13 Supak Jomkoh-Supissara Paewsampran are the second highest ranked pair for Thailand.

A country can have two pairs if both of them are ranked in the top eight of the standings.

Sapsiree hopes to create history by becoming the first Thai players to win a medal in the Olympics.“I hope that two Thai pairs can qualify for Olympics.

“In order to qualify as the top two, we need to perform well and achieve good results in every championship,” said Sapsiree.

“We have won all three colours of medals in World Championships, so I’m hoping that we can win a medal of any colour in the Olympics.”

Dechapol-Sapsiree emerged victorious in the 2021 Huelva World Championships before claiming silver in 2019 Basel and bronze in Tokyo last year.

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