INDONESIA OPEN 2013 SF – Ahsan/Setiawan home crowd’s only hope

Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan became the only Indonesian representatives on finals day at the Djarum Indonesia Open Superseries Premier after a three-game win over Russia’s Ivanov/Sozonov. By Altania Cut […]

Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan became the only Indonesian representatives on finals day at the Djarum Premier after a three-game win over Russia’s Ivanov/Sozonov.

By Altania Cut Wigri, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan (pictured) qualified for the Djarum Indonesia Open Superseries Premier finals after defeating Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov / Ivan Sozonov.  The Indonesians were actually within inches of clinching it in two games but allowed it to slip away on the Russians’ second game point opportunity.

Setiawan claimed they had lost focus and were not ready for the second game. “We felt a bit tense because we had become the sole representatives. In the second game, we applied more counter-pressure, but they were able to pull out their game style.  In the first and third game, though, we managed to hit them first, so they could not develop their game,” said the 2005 champion.

Meanwhile, according to the Russian pair, their game was not too good. They also claimed to have trouble with the Asian type of game. “Ahsan/Setiawan played better this time. We find it difficult to get out from under pressure. Moreover, we have to compete with the tension in front of thousands of spectators like this. I was tense.  It was an incredible crowd.  We hope to be back again next year,” said Ivanov.

Ahsan/Setiawan will face the second seeds from Korea, Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae (pictured), who beat their eighth-seeded team-mates Shin Baek Cheol / Yoo Yeon Seong. Ko/Lee dominated from the start. They closed the first game with a convincing margin, 21-13. In the second game, Shin/Yoo tried to fight back. They played better than in the first, but not enough to stop the Ko/Lee, who booked their place in the final after ending the match in 36 minutes 21-13, 21-16.

About the finals – which will be a repeat of the Malaysia Open final this January, which the Indonesians won – Ahsan said, “We will fight them tooth and nail tomorrow. If they want to win, they also desperately need to fight against us.”

XD: The Danish successfully randomize the rotation of the Indonesians

Indonesians Tontowi Ahmad/ Liliyana Natsir had to let go the coveted final berth in the international badminton tournament held at home after they were defeated by Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (pictured below) in two quick games which the Danes won 21-14, 21-15. The No. 2 seeds committed many mistakes that made them seem tense during the match.

“We both apologize because we failed to qualify for the final. We knew that we were expected to be champions in Indonesia, but today, we were not able to play well,” said Natsir.

“This defeat will certainly be a lesson for us so we can meet them again in better form. We have the ambition to win. Hopefully we can get the formula.”

The Danish pair successfully executed a strategy to avoid Liliyana’s lunges and kept driving the shuttle into the corners of the court with great success.  Their strategy was to open the defense of Ahmad/Natsir and to force Natsir to the rear attacking position the so that the control would stay with the Danish pair.

“We have met them three times this year. It’s really great to have a chance to win the match today,” Pedersen said after the match.

During the match, Pedersen was disrupted and complained to the umpire because of camera flashes in the stands.  “I hope that will not be a problem [tomorrow] but I understand they want to take photos of players,” said Pedersen.

Her partner, Fischer Nielsen added that their Indonesian opponents have been well regarded for their defense skills. “So we tried to move them out elsewhere, and we did it successfully.”

In final match, the Danish players will vie against the Olympic champions from China, and their nemeses, Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (pictured), who beat the top-seeded Xu Chen / Ma Jin. The match between these Chinese pairs went rapidly, just 31 minutes. Zhang/Zhao took the lead after winning the first game 21-15. They secured a spot in the final after a close second game 21-17.

With the head-to-head record at 6-6 between the Danish and Chinese, Zhang said that he and his partner, Zhao will play as well as possible. “We’ve often met them.  For the final day, hopefully we can pull out our best ability.”

Fischer Nielsen, meanwhile, was really hoping the public to support the Danish. “I hope that the spectators will be supporting us, and that they will be encouraging us to play to beat the Chinese,” said Fischer Nielsen.

Agreeing with Nielsen, Pedersen said, “The final match will be much harder. I hope the crowd is on our side.”

Whom to pick in China’s lock on women’s doubles?

The Chinese team had already swept the women’s doubles semi-finals, of course and, as expected, top seeds and defending champions Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (pictured) won easily over compatriots Ma Jin / Tang Jinhua. “Whoever wins, what matters is that one of us is certain to be champion,” said Ma Jin after the match.

Agreeing with Ma, Yu Yang said: “It’s no problem if later in the final we lose to other Chinese players. The important thing is China is certain to be a champion.” But that does not mean that they will take this match for granted. They must be trying hard to be able to retain the title and score a hat-trick, after winning the 2011 and 2012 titles previously. “We will continue to seek the best for tomorrow game,” said Wang Xiaoli.

In the other semi-final, the 8th seeded Bao Yixin / Cheng Shu (pictured) also advanced to the final after beating the Olympic champions Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei.  Tian/Zhao were leading late in the second game, 18-16 but Bao/Cheng stayed in pursuit, equalized and then quickly took the lead. Bao/Cheng finally secured their finals ticket after closing out the match with a 21-17, 22-20, in 43 minutes.

Final day will mark the first time that Bao/Cheng, whose partnership is a very young one, will meet the World Champions. Bao previously paired with Zhong Qianxin, who suffered a serious injury late last year.

“We had never met them in previous international tournaments but we train together several times. We have prepared strategies to defeat them. One thing is for sure, we will play the best we can in the final match tomorrow,” said Bao.

Finals line-up
WD: Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) [1] vs. Bao Yixin / Cheng Shu (CHN) [8]
MS: Lee Chong Wei (MAS) [1] vs. Marc Zwiebler (GER)
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) [1] vs. Juliane Schenk (GER) [4]
MD: Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae (KOR) [2] vs. Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan (INA)
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [3] vs. Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) [4]

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Guest Contributor