This tandem is on the cusp of something big, and as for Jongkolphan Kititharakul & Rawinda Prajongjai, they need to get beyond their usual game to cause a shock in the Women’s doubles scene.
With the break-up of Indonesian duo of Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu due to the retirement of the former, it will be the the Thais who will banner the Southeast Asian shuttlers in the distaff side as they are banking on their loyal bond as they now approach their ninth year playing together.
They are on separate paths before teaming up, as Rawinda had dabbled in the women’s singles with modest success as she won two tournaments overall.
In those title deciders she lost to a young Ratchanok Intanon in the 2010 Smiling Fish International and later on, defeated Pornpawee Chochuwong in the Lion City three years later. Both Intanon and Chochuwong are now inside the top 10 in singles, with the former became Thailand’s first ever BWF World Champion.
On the other hand, Jongkolphan was considered the doubles expert, and although she was winless in two finals in WD, she found the gold in the mixed doubles when she won the 2013 Smiling Fish tourney alongside Patiphat Chalardchaleam.
Their first years on tour
The 2013 and 2014 on badminton season were their first steps towards respectability, in which they have made just two semifinals on the latter year.
However, 2015 brought a change of fortunes as they won their first title in the Vietnam Open, followed by the Kharkiv and the Sydney Internationals.
But 2016 brought them back to earth as they only managed a pair of bridesmaid finishes in two of those tournaments, including their setback to the powerhouse pair of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifai in Saarbrucken. But nevertheless, they made their All-England debut that year but went out in the first hurdle.
Sustained form on tour
Those three years together became a platform for them to achieve higher ground, which they did in 2017, scoring another pair of Grand Prix titles in a sweeping fashion both in Malaysia and in Saarbrucken. It was also that year when they won their maiden SEA Games title.
Consistency in bringing at least a tour title was rewarded the following year, in which they clinched the Thailand Masters.
However, it was their Uber Cup contributions at home that stood out, in which Thailand made it all the way to the final despite the pair losing their matches in the knockout ties. In the end, they settled for a runner-up finish after bowing down to a powerful Japan.
After winning the 2019 Chinese Taipei Open, they ended their four-year drought for a tour win in Europe, winning in Orleans Masters by defeating the Stoevas.
Hoping for a major Breakthrough
As mentioned before, the tight competition in the Women’s Doubles meant that they have yet to put a dent in the major tournaments.
They have made the quarterfinals both the World Championships (thrice) and in the All-England (twice) in their careers, with their maiden Olympic campaign in Tokyo resulted in a winless campaign in Group D.
Despite that, they have contributed to Thailand’s Uber Cup cause, adding two more semifinal appearances in the next two editions.
Let’s see what they can do in the coming years as they have to make their move right now.