by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Victory as status predicted but it was undoubtedly a pressure situation for the host partnership; according to status they were the favourites but playing on home soil there were several factors to be considered.
On the one hand they had home crowd support, on the other there was a high level of expectation and they were on the brink of history.
“Before the match I felt really nervous and put a lot of pressure on myself; the good thing was my partner, I was very confident in her abilities. Today the match was really close. We tried to play point by point. I’m very happy I can win this title.“ Orawan Paranang
Overall there was little to choose between the partnerships in the opening games but when Orawan Paranang and Suthasini Sawettabut captured the close third, it appeared the balance has turned in their favour. It was to be the opposite. Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata dominated the fourth game, a decider beckoned, to the delight of players and supporters the fifth game was secured without great drama, history was made.
Prior to the start of play in Bangkok there had been 327 ITTF World Tour tournaments since the first was staged in 1996; also there have been an additional 15 tournaments since January 2017 when the ITTF Challenge Series has been a separate entity.
Overall, the 2018 ITTF Challenge Thailand Open was tournament no.343; a number for Thailand to remember.
“I feel excited. I did not think that I could compete with them because in the last round they performed very well. Today we discussed a lot of tactics during the match. I tried to make the first attack. It was a close match but finally we won.” Suthasini Sawettabut
It is the only occasion in the history of the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series when Thailand has won a title in any discipline. In fact only once before has the country appeared in a final. In 2015 in Pangyurishte on the ITTF World Tour in Bulgaria, Nanthana Komwong and Suthasini Saettabut reached the title deciding contest; they were beaten by Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun.
In Bangkok it was different, the top step of the podium belonged to Orawan Paranang and Suthasini Sawettabut; history was written.