INDONESIA CHALLENGE – The Four Tops Win at Home

However, Yao, who had taken two titles that day and was hoping to repeat the feat in Surabaya, was no match for Irawati and her home court advantage on Saturday.  […]

\"Four top-seeded Indonesians lived up to expectations by taking titles at the Surabaya Indonesia International Challenge on Saturday.  Most notably, Shendy Puspa Irawati and Fran Kurniawan (pictured) took two doubles titles each.  Singles saw a couple of firsts with local shuttler Andre Kurniawan Tedjono winning his first ever title in Asia while 17-year-old Korean Bae Youn Joo won her first international title ever.

By Don Hearn. Photos: Badmintonphoto.com (archives)

The day started off with some very familiar faces.  For Shendy Puspa Irawati and Fran Kurniawan, gunning for two titles on the last day has become a regular pastime this year.  Irawati has been there 3 times this year (in Poland, Toulouse, and Surabaya) while for Kurniawan, this was the second time reaching the finals in both doubles and mixed.  Opposite them were Yao Lei and Chayut Triyachart of Singapore, who had found themselves with the same double-doubles title opportunity at home just three months ago.
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However, Yao, who had taken two titles that day and was hoping to repeat the feat in Surabaya, was no match for Irawati and her home court advantage on Saturday.  Kurniawan/Irawati took the first match of the day 21-19, 21-13 to get the ball rolling for Indonesia.

Andre Kurniawan Tedjono (pictured) has not made the waves in 2008 that people expected after his explosion onto the scene last spring when he had a fairytale run at the Indonesia Open Super Series followed immediately by his first Grand Prix title in New Zealand.  Tedjono finished 2007 on a high, reaching the finals of two Grand Prix events in Vietnam and Russia, but he has struggled in the bigger tournaments this year.  Still, the young Indonesian shuttler, currently ranked 28th in the world, picked up his second tournament of the year (the first being the Volant d’Or in Toulouse) with a 21-13, 21-16 win over compatriot Ari Yuli Wahyu Hartanto, who has now been the runner-up in all but one of the tournaments in which Tedjono has taken an international championship, starting in Brazil in 2006.

\"The women’s singles was the only discipline not won by a top seed as well as the only one won by a visiting athlete.  However, for Korea’s Bae Youn Joo (pictured), it was mainly significant as her first ever international title, despite several trips up the podium in both events and the circuit in the last two years.  Bae obviously benefitted from the withdrawal of top-seeded Hirayama Yu of Japan and needed to see off a mainly Indonesian challenge.  She narrowly edged 21-year-old Rosaria Yusfin Pungkasari 21-18, 23-21 in what was the day’s longest match, at 68 minutes.

Even in the men’s doubles there was something of a first.  Although Fran Kurniawan and Rendra Wijaya had already won three tournaments in Europe this year, their win over compatriots Windarto/Wirawan gave them their first ever win in Asia.  Meanwhile, the women’s doubles was the only discipline with a repeat champion as 2007 winners Irawati and Meiliana Jauhari picked up their fourth title in 2008 with a 21-14, 21-18 win over Yao Lei and Sari Shinta Mulia of Singapore.  It was Irawati’s second win of the day over Yao.

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net