INDONESIA OPEN 2013 Preview – Last tourney for Taufik

Indonesia Open Superseries Premier will begin in just one week’s time.  The roar and incredible atmosphere from supporters has become the benchmark for badminton tournaments.  Continuing on from the success […]

Premier will begin in just one week’s time.  The roar and incredible atmosphere from supporters has become the benchmark for badminton tournaments.  Continuing on from the success of last year, the hosts are again offering world-class total prize money, but so much more besides.

By Mathilde Liliana Perada, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

The third of five OSIM BWF Superseries Premier events, the Djarum Indonesia Open, may only be the second most lucrative individual badminton tournament in the world but as a spectacle, it has consistently been the act to follow.  With a festive welcome dinner featuring players in traditional local costume and a week-long festival outside the stadium as well, Indonesia puts on a show even before the shuttlecocks start flying.

Farewell tournament for the “Backhand Smasher”

The 2013 edition might be an emotional tournament for the host nation because one of their legends, Taufik Hidayat (pictured), has decided to make this the final event of his career.  Before any tears are shed or bows taken, though, Taufik is predicted to have a tough time on court, right from the first round.  The Indonesian star could hardly have a more difficult start than to face Lin Dan, who is obviously the strongest candidate to come through the qualification rounds to become Taufik’s opponent.

It promises to be an early highlight to the tournament because each participant is on his own mission.  Taufik wants to end up his career with a beautiful ending while Lin Dan has ambition to win the tournament.  This is the only Superseries tournament that never won by him.

Escape from Lin Dan does not necessarily pave Taufik’s way to the next round.  Even if the home favourite were to pull off his first upset of Lin Dan since Doha, Lee Chong Wei is the odds-on favourite to be the next obstacle to the winner of the Lin-Hidayat encounter, although he himself must win over Wang Zhengming in the first round.  The men’s singles world #1 is not easily beaten but doesn’t mean it’s impossible to beat him.

In the other half of the draw, Tommy Sugiarto will be facing another bastion in the “great wall of China”, Chen Long.  It’s gonna be their third match in the last four weeks.  Tommy, who has never won against Chen Long, has a chance to improve his record if the home-court factor can help his confidence level.

First round men’s singles matches of note:
Lee Chong Wei (MAS) [1] vs. Wang Zhengming (CHN)
Boonsak Ponsana (THA) [8] vs. Viktor Axelsen (DEN)
Taufik Hidayat (INA) vs. Lin Dan (CHN) [probable]
Kashyap Parupalli (IND) vs. Sho Sasaki (JPN)

Saina’s back, and fourth?

Three-time champion Saina Nehwal (pictured right) of India is due back from a toe injury and will appear in the Thailand Open before going to Indonesia to hold her title. If Saina’s form stays strong until the final round, it will be her fourth Indonesia Open title but it won’t be an easy start for her because she must face Indonesia’s top women’s singles shuttler, India Grand Prix Gold winner Lindaweni Fanetri, in the first round.  Indonesian supporters will be another pressure for her in the way to defend her title beside Linda, who has the ambition to climb higher in the world rankings.

However, China’s women are still the strongest and will again be the ones to beat.  The youngest and tallest of these, Sun Yu (pictured), will start off in the qualification rounds but will likely need to face top seed Li Xuerui in the second round.  Wang Yihan is another threat to watch out for but these three are all in the top half of the draw along with Han Li.  Wang Shixian is the sole Chinese shuttler in the bottom half, along with Saina and all three Indonesians, plus a possible two more from qualifying.

First round women’s singles matches of note:
Saina Nehwal (IND) [2] vs. Lindaweni Fanetri (INA)
Ratchanok Intanon [5] (THA) vs. Han Li (CHN)
Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) [6] vs. P.  V.  Sindhu (IND)
Sayaka Takahashi (JPN) vs. Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (THA)

Will this be the time?

Tontowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir (pictured below) have, of course,  try their luck this year.  The two-time All England gold medallists have been through to the Indonesia Open finals the last two years running but still have not succeeded in nabbing the title that Natsir, with former partner Nova Widianto was the last Indonesian to win.

Tontowi and Lilyana have, of course, become one of the home team’s perennial high hopes for a title at the Istora Senayan, after the men’s doubles, in which Indonesia has not taken gold since 2006, incidentally.  Mads Pieler Kolding / Kamila Rytter Juhl are to be the first hurdle for the host’s #1 mixed pair.  If all goes well, Tontowi/Lilyana will face Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying in the quarter-finals and Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen in the semis.

Defeat in the finals in two consecutive years should be a valuable lesson for the number two seeds.  The desire to keep the title at home no doubt burns inside them, as does their fighting spirit to get their second Superseries Premier title of the year.

On the other hand, Malaysia’s number one pair, Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying will be looking to forget their painful loss to Germany at the Sudirman Cup.  The Malaysians’ first round opponents, Qiu Zihan and Bao Yixin, may not be considered as strong as China’s other top mixed doubles pairs, but they are certain to give the 5th seeds a run for their money.  As we know, China’s players are not beaten easily.  They have high morale and do not give up easily.

First round mixed doubles matches of note:
Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying (MAS) [5] vs. Qiu Zihan / Bao Yixin (CHN)
Markis Kido / Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth (INA) vs. Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR)
Tarun Kona / Ashwini Ponnappa (IND) vs. Praveen Jordan / Vita Marissa (INA)
(Qualifying) Hirokatsu Hashimoto / Miyuki Maeda (JPN) [2] vs.  Shen Ye / Tang Jinhua (CHN)

Old, new, former

There are several familiar names with new partners in the women’s doubles draw.  Singapore’s Vanessa Neo who is known as Danny Bawa Chrisnanta’s partner in mixed doubles, will try her capability with Shinta Mulia Sari, after a brief stint with Shinta’s partner, Yao Lei, at the Badminton Asia Championships and the Malaysia Grand Prix Gold.  Two-time world junior champions Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan will be their challengers in the first round.  However, Yao Lei pairs with Fu Mingtian will begin from qualification.

In addition, Indonesia has been doing some reshuffling of their women’s doubles partnerships.  This has yielded both new pairs such as Anneke Feinya Agustine / Della Destiara Harris, Suci Rizky Andini / Jenna Gozali, and Komala Dewi / Meiliana Jauhari, as well as Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (pictured) being re-paired.  Greysia and Nitya did not play together between the 2010 Uber Cup and the 2013 Sudirman Cup.  The reunited pair will face an early obstacle from 3rd-seeded Christina Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark.

Not to be left out, the Chinese team has re-paired Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei, who had separated for the first 5 months of 2013.  The Olympic gold medallists’ quest to return to the top standing will probable require them to win a confrontation with the new world #2’s, Misaki Matsumoto / Ayaka Takahashi (pictured right), in the quarter-finals but there is every possibility that Tian/Zhao will repeat last year’s final against Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang.

First round women’s doubles matches of note:
Duanganong Aroonkesorn / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul (THA) [6] vs.  Anneke Feinya Agustin / Della Destiara Haris (INA)
Bao Yixin / Cheng Shu (CHN) [8] vs.  Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na (KOR)
Vanessa Neo / Shinta Mulia Sari (SIN) vs.  Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan (KOR)

Waiting for another surprise

The men’s doubles has a uniform strength map.  Disappointing results at the Sudirman Cup indicate that Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng are not as strong as they used to be.  However, China’s power does not stop there.  There are All England winners Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan and German and Swiss Open champions Chai Biao / Hong Wei (pictured below), who hope to continue the Chinese dynasty’s full-spectrum dominance that it enjoyed during the reign of Cai/Fu.

Also, former world #3 Guo Zhendong is in the race with former world #4 Shen Ye and these two can be expected to make things interesting.  They get a fitting welcome from another player making his 2013 Superseries debut as their first round contest is with Denmark Open champions Shin Baek Cheol and Yoo Yeon Seong, the latter being slated to mark his return from a temporary military hiatus in Thailand this week.

Indonesia young men’s doubles pair, Rian Agung Saputra / Angga Pratama, surprisingly showed their best at the Sudirman Cup by beating the current Olympic gold medallists Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng.  They will be tested by Macau Open winners Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin in the first round and possibly to face Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae in the second round.  We’re waiting for another surprise from these young players.

First round men’s doubles matches of note:
Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa (JPN) [4] vs.  Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan (INA)
Shin Baek Cheol / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [8] vs.  Guo Zhendong / Shen Ye (CHN)
Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra (INA) vs.  Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin (TPE)

Stay tuned to Badzine next week as we bring you the Indonesia Open action with live reports and photos from Badmintonphoto.

Click here for the complete draws and results

Mathilde Liliana Perada

About Mathilde Liliana Perada

Mathilde has been a Badzine Correspondent since 2013. She is currently living in Jakarta and is working for a financial advisory firm. She also spends her time writing about badminton and helps local badminton communities to organize events related to badminton.