WORLD JUNIORS 2011 SF – Indonesia’s revenge

China’s withdrawal from the World Junior Championships, gave the other Asian juggernauts the chance to override their long time rival. The Indonesian delegation, who had to be bitterly disappointed with […]

China’s withdrawal from the World Championships, gave the other Asian juggernauts the chance to override their long time rival. The Indonesian delegation, who had to be bitterly disappointed with their performance in the team event, seem ready to redeem themselves in the individual tournament with no less than four participants in tomorrow’s finals. Viktor Axelsen and Ratchanok Intanon, meanwhile, are ready to keep their titles.

By Elm Vandevorst. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

With strong performances from some other Asian countries, the European teenagers had a difficult time competing with their Asian peers.  Carolina Marin of Spain and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen were Europe’s only chances left for a place in the final. Titleholder Axelsen had to get the best of Sameer Verma from India in his semi-final, in order to progress to the final.  This was a tricky test for the tall Dane, as Verma proved to be a worthy opponent. The silver medallist at this year’s Asian Junior Championships took the head start in the first game, leading 11-9 at the first break. A small advantage which wasn’t enough to win the game, as Axelsen closed the gap. At 19-all, the experience of the latter resulted in a close 21-19 win.  It was the same scenario in the second game, where at 19-19, the reigning champion again scored two points in a row, meaning he’s still on track for his second, consecutive title.

In what promises to be an exciting final, the European Junior Champion will meet his Asian equivalent: Zulfadli Zulkiffli (photo).  It is a first ever final for the young Malaysian, whose best performance so fat was a quarter-final in 2009. His stats are rather impressive, since he hasn’t lost a match so far in both the team and individual event. His semi-final against Kento Momota was a repetition of their semi at the Asian Juniors. And once again it was the Japanese shuttler who had to accepted a straight game defeat, this time with Zulfadli winning 21-18, 21-18.

Carolina Marin was Europe’s second representative in the semis, but was stopped by Indonesian Elisabeth Purwaningtyas after a three-game thriller that finished 23-21, 17-21, 21-18. Marin was still pleased with her level of play during the tournament. “I will take my bronze medal, so I must be happy about that. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and will practice even harder.

It is also an amazing result, however, for her opponent Purwaningtyas, who wasn’t considered as a title contender. She still has to overcome the absolute favourite, and top seeded, Ratchanok Intanon in the final. The Thai teen is in cruise control and hasn’t dropped a game so far.

There were more Indonesians revelations in Taipei today, as an all-Indonesian final is scheduled in the mixed doubles. Alfian Eko Prasetya and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja crushed Choi Sol Kyu / Chae Yoo Jung in less than half an hour 21-18, 21-13. The latter pairing had defeated reigning Asian Junior champions Lukhi Apri Nugroho/ Ririn Amelia, but couldn’t claim their second Indonesian scalp. Second finalist Roland Alexander and Nuraidah Tiara Rosalia (pictured top) must be on top of the world. On their way to the final they have beat higher seeded twosomes Grosjean/Palermo from France, Thai pair Ampunsuwan/ Chonthicha, and title favourites Heg/Chow from Malaysia.

Nelson Heg (photo) can still take a gold medal back home, together with Teo Ee Yi in the men’s doubles, if off course top seeds Huang Po Jui and Lin Chia Yu. The local players are considered to be the favourites, while they already got the better of their Malaysians challengers at the Asian Juniors in July, then winning 21-16 11-21 21-17. Finally Indonesia’s third chance for a title is to be found in the women’s doubles, where Shelli Devi Aulia and Anggia Shitta Awanda will face German Junior champions Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan (photo) from Korea.

All results HERE


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