Mind games pay off

Mind games pay off
Singaporeans' first victory over the Thais in five outings
Vanessa Neo and Danny Bawa Chrisnanta in action at the OUE Singapore Open.

SINGAPORE - At 19-18 in the second set, Danny Bawa Chrisnanta stepped up behind mixed doubles partner Vanessa Neo for a brief word just before the latter's serve.

Whether or not it caused Sudket Prapakamol to momentarily lose concentration, no one knows, but the Thai left the shuttlecock, only for it to land just inside the service area.

It proved the decisive point, as the Singaporeans went on to wrap up the set and clinch the second-round win 21-12, 21-18 over world No. 7 duo Sudket and Saralee Thoungthongkam in the OUE Singapore Open at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night.

Asked on their exchange of words at the critical juncture, 25-year-old Chrisnanta smiled and said: "I said 'just fight'. Our opponents looked at us and thought we were up to something."

Neo, 26, added: "It was mind games - we wanted to slow down the momentum because we lost four points (before this)."

It was the Singaporeans' first victory over the Thais in five outings.

"We were more focused (last night) and analysed their play... We tried to put Sudket in positions where he would make certain shots," explained Neo.

FASTER

"Saralee is also better in front (of Sudket), so I just tried to be faster than her and create opportunities for Danny to attack."

Ranked world No. 14, the Singapore pair were the only local shuttlers to advance to today's quarter-finals.

Before a partisan crowd of 3,500, Singapore's world No. 16 women's doubles duo Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei crashed out after a 21-9, 21-11 defeat by South Korea's Ko A Ra and Yoo Hae Won, while men's singles world No. 43 Derek Wong lost 24-22, 21-19 to India's Sai Praneeth.

Wong, 25, said: "I am disappointed. I served into the net when the score was tied at 22-22 and that was the crucial point.

"I lacked patience today and he got points from my mistakes, as well as my unsteadiness."

Chrisnanta and Neo will meet China's world No. 17 Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin in today's last-eight tie.

Said Chrisnanta: "We have never played them before, but they are good players.

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