Thai veteran Sapsiree just won’t tire out at 31

AGE is just a number for Sapsiree Taerattanachai (pic).

The 31-year-old Thai mixed doubles shuttler ended her mini title drought along with Dechapol Puavaranukroh at the Malaysian Masters after outlasting China’s Feng Yanzhe-Huang Dongping in an energy-sapping final.

World No. 3 Dechapol-Sapsiree showed great fighting spirit and determination to come from behind and win 16-21, 21-13, 21-18 in a 91-minute duel at the Axiata Arena yesterday.

It was the Thai pair’s first title since capturing the Japan Open last September.

It was also Dechapol-Sapsiree’s first win over world No. 8 Yanzhe-Dongping after coming out second best in their two previous encounters at last year’s Denmark and French Opens.

“We are really happy to win this title. I have been trying hard to push myself to do better and this title is a reward for all the hard work,” said Sapsiree.

“We were more confident in this tournament after not winning any titles since the Japan Open last year.

“We also executed our strategy better and controlled the shuttle well.’’

Dechapol-Sapsiree are the first Thai mixed doubles pair to win the Malaysian Masters.

On their targets after this, Sapsiree said: “This win has given us more belief and we will now try to maintain our standard in every tournament after this.

“The qualifying period for the 2024 Paris Olympics has started and we want to reach more finals. We also want to finish on the podium in the World Championships in August and Asian Games in September. I’m 31 now and I need to look after my body as well.

“But I feel as if I’m in the best state of my career and I want to achieve a lot more.”

Meanwhile, Yanzhe, who had captured the Indonesian and Thailand Masters in January and German Open in March with Dongping, was left to rue their costly mistakes in the third game.

“I made two big mistakes towards the end of the third game that cost us the match,” lamented Yanzhe.

“I also did not do well during the crucial points and I need to learn from this.”

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