AXIATA CUP Finals Day 1 – The Eagle vs the Hawk, Round 1

Garuda took  Round 1 of the Axiata Cup finals, beating fellow Indonesian team Rajawali with a full-strength team. By Kira Rin, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Arief Rachman (live) The finals of […]

Garuda took  Round 1 of the finals, beating fellow Indonesian team Rajawali with a full-strength team.

By Kira Rin, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Arief Rachman (live)

The finals of the inaugural Axiata Cup tournament between Team Garuda and Team Rajawali started with a match between 2 princes, Simon Santoso and Tommy Sugiarto, both struggling for the throne held by the great king Taufik.

Both players fought tooth and nail for every chance to gain points.  However, Simon found the extra burst of speed to quickly wrap up the 1st game 21-19.

It was now painfully clear that Tommy Sugiarto (pictured right) had been pushing his speed too hard in the 1st game, as Simon was able to easily rack up a 9-point lead at 11-2.  Even Tommy’s lacklustre emulations of Taufik’s legendary backhand couldn’t help him at all and Simon put away his pretender 21-7.

Reigning Olympic champions Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan spared no quarter on their fellow Indonesians Rian Agung Saputro and Angga Pratama, with Markis smashing with thunderous power and Hendra covering the open spaces.

By the second game, Rian and Angga figured that they had to keep Hendra at the back to have even the slightest chance of surviving the match and managed to struggle to a 7-3 lead.  The Olympic champions however took it in their stride, having faced the same tactic countless times in their long career together, and smashed their way to equalize the game 13 all and finally finish it 21-17.

Finally, the great king Taufik Hidayat (pictured top) stepped forward to face his opponent of the day, Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka (pictured left), Taufik’s junior by 7 years.

The battle-scarred king showed it would take a lot more than just youthfulness to match him, showcasing the near impossible winning shots and smashes that made him a legend.  Rumbaka was at a loss of how to reply to his senior’s shots, hesitating and almost always getting caught out in the wrong direction sometimes.  However, it took 6 game points for Taufik before Rumbaka served short to let his opponent snatch the game 21-17.

With Rumbaka taking the half time interval 11-9 in the second game, Taufik upped his pace and finally felt the heat and pressure from Rumbaka, with both sides playing long extended rallies with well-executed shots.  A service fault was called on Rumbaka at 18-17 but he didn’t let it affect his play and forced his way to 20-18.  As befitting the final match of the tie, the game went to 20-all, with the players exchanging game points and match points.  It took 6 game points for Rumbaka to finally end the stalemate with a lucky net kill, with Taufik having 2 match points of his own as well.

Rumbaka showed yet another moment of brilliance, coming from 6-10 to take the half time interval of the final game 11-10.  In return, Taufik upped his pace yet even higher, repeatedly smashing at Rumbaka’s backhand and following up with vicious net kills.  In the end, Taufik took the final point and walked off like a majestic Garuda soaring away into the sunset.

Indonesia Garuda 3, Indonesia Rajawali 0
Simon Santoso bt Tommy Sugiarto 21-19, 21-7
Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan bt Rian Agung Saputro / Angga Pratama 21-14, 21-17
Taufik Hidayat bt Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka 21-17, 25-27, 21-16


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