ALL ENGLAND 2013 SF – Ahmad/Natsir survive scare against compatriots

An incredible run by Markis Kido and sister Pia Zebediah Bernadeth was brought to an end by defending champions Ahmad / Natsir, but not without drama in a three game […]

An incredible run by Markis Kido and sister Pia Zebediah Bernadeth was brought to an end by defending champions Ahmad / Natsir, but not without drama in a three game match. Lee Chong Wei also proceeded to his fifth consecutive final in the men’s singles.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from Birmingham.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live).

Tantowi Ahmad and (pictured left) were pushed hard by Indonesian compatriots Kido / Bernadeth in their second close shave en route to the final.

A close first game saw Kido / Bernadeth hold the edge, again showing an incredible feel for finishing games and an ability to cope with pressure, the final score 18-21.

Pressure on Ahmad unsettled him as he was not able to get past the Kido / Bernadeth defence. Natsir’s experience was invaluable as she worked hard to take the pressure off, as the pair recovered from 14-8 down to take the end 21-15.

Ahmad played with a new confidence as he started to play more crowd pleasing shots, but the defending champions faced some tense moments as a late run from Kido / Bernadeth saved the first match point, but were unable to prevent the second as Ahmad smashed himself and Natsir into the final, 21-19.

Natsir spoke afterwards saying: “We changed our strategy in the second game and we didn’t make as many mistakes as in the first game and so we attacked a lot more in the second. We have met each other before so we think it is more difficult to beat them. [Markis] Kido is the more aggressive player but Pia [Zebediah] is dangerous. We kept focused on the critical points and we were still confident that we could keep ahead and win the game.”

Lee Chong Wei (pictured right) suffered only one nervous moment at the end of the first game, as he once again started the match slowly. Saensomboonsuk came out as expected, all attack and took an early 8-4 lead. Lee was not flustered however and only trailed by a point at the mid game interval.

Lee held game point first but a misjudgement saw a drive from the Thai player drop good. A nervous Saensomboonsuk hit a smash wide and then drop wide to gift the game, 22-20.

A much more solid game saw Lee take advantage of a disheartened Saensomboonsuk to take an 11-5 lead. Not having the same energy on court, the Thai player could not keep up with Lee as he went through the gears. The match was decided with a cross court smash into empty space to take the match 21-8.

Lee spoke after the match, “It was very close, the first game he was trying his very best and I just had to stay with him. There is a lot of pressure but I just try to enjoy it when I go out on court.”

Indonesia suffered another blow as heroes Rijal / Susanto from yesterday could not keep the same level against another Chinese pair, going down to a strong Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, 21-17 21-16.

The full results for the day can be found here.

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About Michael Burke