This Axiata Cup 2013 presented more heat with more participants, more matches and more surprises. The world’s richest team tournament kicked off on Thursday, and showed surprising pair playing in the court. Singles specialists Bellaetrix Manuputty, Bao ChunLai and Boonsak Ponsana played in doubles.
By Angga Maulana Akbar, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Rights Reserved (Axiata Cup)
Defending champions Indonesia didn’t give any chance to Vietnam to even steal a game as the powerhouse won 4-0 against its South East Asia opponent. The first match saw ‘emergency’ pair Ricky Karanda/Bellaetrix Manuputty play Vietnamese pair Duong Bao Dug/Thai Thi Hong. The Indonesians won in two games 21-12, 21-13. Karanda/Manuputty filled Tontowi Ahmad/ Lilyana Natsir’s and Muhammad Rijal/Debby Susanto’s place as the latter two pairs just arrived in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon. Manuputty was supposed to play in women’s singles and Karanda in men’s doubles. Other matches showed Indonesian domination; however, the closest match occurred in women’s singles when Vu Thi Trang failed, despite saving several game points Aprilia Yuswandari won that one 25-23, 21-18.
Simon Santoso (photo) who hasn’t been fielded in an international tournament since the French Open Superseries in October 2012, won the duel against Nguyen Hoang Nam 21-14, 21-10. Ricky Karanda made that two by bagging a second victory that day. With Muhammad Ulinhua, he knocked off Bo Minh/ Nguyen Khang Huynh to score 4-0 for Indonesia.
Team Europe was defeated 3-1 by Singapore as a bad start in this tournament. In the first match, however, Carolina Marin made an impressive opening for Europe, getting the best of Xing Aiying of Singapore in two games. In other matches, Singapore suppressed Europe starting with Ashton Chen, who flunked Scott Evans of Ireland in three games 21-18, 17-21 and 21-19.
Former World Champion Nathan Robertson, partnering Jenny Wallwork (photo), gave the breathtaking tight performance in the second game before they lost to Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Vanessa Neo 13-21 29-30. World’s number 12 of Russia Ivan Sozonov/Vladimir Ivanov failed to level up the tie after they lost to Liu Yi/ Terry Yeo so that Team Europe lost to Singapore 1-3.
Team Asia didn’t find any luck that day as they lost to Thailand 1-3. Former All England runner-up Lee Hyun Il (photo) began the Asian All-stars’ campaign by taking on Tanongsak Saesomboonsuk, who reached the semi-final at this year’s All England. The match saw the more experienced Hyun Il win the fight against his younger opponent 22-20, 21-14. The following players from Thailand, however, triumphed: Thai teen Busanan Ongbamrungphan outplayed Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong, former world #1’s Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam overcame Ashwini Ponappa / Tarun Kona of India, and the surprising pair Boonsak Ponsana / Songphon Anugritayawon (photo) got best of another surprising pair Bao Chunlai / Zheng Bo.
Coming to the court with a full-strength team, Malaysia didn’t lose a game or even suffer a tight score against the Philippines, dominating them 4-0. This victory started with Tee Jing Yi, who won against Bianca Ysabel Carlos 21-12, 21-8. French Open Superseries 2012 titleholder Liew Daren followed that up with another straight-game win against Antonio Benjamin Gadi to give the Philippines a valuable lesson.
Mixed doubles world #5 Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying took Ronel Estanislao/ Malvinne Ann Venice Alcala. The Malaysians made it in two games 21-14 21-16 to score 3-0. The last victory came from Malaysia’s best men’s double Koo Kien Keat/ Tan Boon Heong which overcame Paul Jefferson Vivas/Peter Gabriel Magnaye 21-12 21-13.