Chiangrai Times – World Junior Champion and as youngest Olympian, Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand had pushed world number two Wang Xin to the limit. The first time these two played, in the women’s team event of the 2010 Asian Games, the youngster had been able to sneak up on Wang Xin. Even if she already had a Grand Prix Gold and 2 World Junior titles under her belt, she was still a 15-year-old facing the world #1.
But even if Wang Xin was ready for her this time, the Thai still started brightly to dominate the latter stages of her first game, drawing uncharacteristic errors from Wang, and she took the game at the first opportunity 21-17.
The second game saw her start with a new-found confidence, out-manoeuvring her opponent in the early exchanges. Wang changed to a more defensive tactic, waiting for errors from Intanon’s lack of control in her positive play. Despite this, Intanon continued with her great placement to the back court to open up a gaping 16-9 lead.
However, Wang, the 26-year-old Olympic rookie, was still the one with her nerves under control and she mounted a remarkable comeback that saw her snatch the game 21-18 and level the match.
The disappointment of the previous game seemed to cause Intanon to tire, as she looked a step slower in the third game. After a timeout for the Thai for an apparent injury to the foot when the score was at 12-7 to the Chinese, Wang was unfazed, and she pushed through to clinch the victory.