INDONESIA OPEN 2015 Day 1 – Crowded from the beginning

The BCA Indonesia Open Superseries Premier 2015 has begun, with current and former top 5 players involved even in the qualification rounds, where both Boonsak Ponsana and Sony Dwi Kuncoro […]

The BCA Premier 2015 has begun, with current and former top 5 players involved even in the qualification rounds, where both Boonsak Ponsana and Sony Dwi Kuncoro fell to young local challengers.

Mathilde Liliana Perada and Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine correspondents live in Jakarta. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Even though the event had just started, the enthusiasm of host supporters on the first day of the BCA Indonesia Open was just like it was finals day.  In fact, qualifying day took place on Vesakh Day, a public holiday, and all tickets in all classes had already sold out in only one and a half hours after the gate opened.

Following last week’s Australia Open, the Indonesia Open appears again with even bigger prize money, US$800,000, and of course more ranking points.  With the higher prestige, top ranking players will try their luck to get points for upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Singles fighter

One of the most interesting qualification matches featured by Jonatan Christie (pictured).  The young Indonesian men’s singles player who participated in his first ever Sudirman Cup this year played a tight match against his Sudirman team-mate, Firman Abdul Kholik.  The first game began with one point after another for each player and then Christie took a lead after first interval then marked as his game as the point 21-16.  It looked easy for the 17-year-old-man to made it straight game at the time but Kholik struggle to extend his breath in this tournament and won the second game 19-21.

“He changed the way he played in the middle of the second game and I’m just remiss,” said Christie after the game.

After taking the second game, the world #63 became more confident and led at the beginning of the third game.  However, these two young men really saved the best for the last and brought high tension to the crowd by deuce point before Christie took it as his game.

“Both of us wanted to win the match.  That is why we fought till the end,” said Christie.

Christie said in that post-match interview that played against a veteran didn’t make him dither but he certainly looked to be under pressure in his first game against Boonsak Ponsana.  Ponsana dictated the pace until game point at 20-17 but then Christie caught fire and fought back with five points in a row to make it 22-20 for the world number #53.

“I was losing at first but I tried not to play defensively,” Christie explained about the way he tried to chase Ponsana down.

But Christie did not stop there.  He took a lead 4-0 in the second game and the Thai looked frustrated with his performance.  Ponsana earned lots of unforced errors and it smoothed his opponent’s way in the final qualification.  Christie led the second game from the first point until he won the game, with local supporters, too, proving to be among the factors in the victory.

“The supporters are incredible.  They are cheering like they wanted to say ‘it is our home, it is your home,’ and it just raise my level of confidence,” said Christie.

Another Indonesian teenager took care of the host’s own former top 5 player who was involved in the qualifying rounds as Anthony Ginting beat former champion Sony Dwi Kuncoro (pictured top) to make his way into the main draw.

In other singles action, Yao Xue, the only China women’s singles who played in qualification became the only representative not from the host team who qualified for the main round.  She got through qualification to first round after beating two host representatives, winning in three games over Febby Angguni (pictured above), then in two against Aprilia Yuswandari.

“I have not been able to adapt to the field at first but then I have my focus back and I played well,” the Indonesia Grand Prix Gold 2013 runner-up said.

Lucky with new partner

Indonesian players dominated the starters in qualifying round, however other international player joined among them.  Korea’s Lee Yong Dae come back again to the glittering ambience in Istora Senayan Jakarta with his new mixed doubles partner, Lee So Hee (pictured).  In the final of qualifying round, this new pair got full support from local supporters, though it is no secret that this is in part because of the attention Lee Yong Dae gets from Indonesians for his handsome appearance.

Against Japanese pair Keigo Sonoda / Naoko Fukuman, both pairs struggled for points as if it were a final.  Playing with full support was not enough for Korean pair to get an easy win and the second game was suspenseful but the Koreans finally took it from Sonoda/Fukuman for a final  score of 21-19, 21-17.

“We played without pressure.  We just wanted to enjoy the match and develop our performance,” said the Beijing Olympic mixed doubles gold medallist.

Another noteworthy result came from another new pair from China.  Fu Haifeng’s ex-partner, Cai Yun got another younger partner to take under his wing.  Cai and Kang Jun succeeded in taking a main round ticket after having battle with Indonesian juniors.  Even though they just started their journey in last week’s Australia Open, they already seem to have found their confidence.  Against Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian / Muhammad Rian Ardianto, this Chinese pair performed their best, giving a smash and drive battle to their opponents and winning 21-14, 21-13.  Especially for twenty-five year-old Kang Jun, it was about finding confidence playing with a veteran like Cai Yun.

“From [Cai Yun], I learned so many things and I hope I will be better like him in the future,” said Kang.

Day 1 finished with most of the opening round of the main draw in mixed doubles, excluding the four matches involving pairs who had played qualifying matches.  With the Superseries Premier status came the return of World and Olympic champion Zhao Yunlei.  She and Zhang Nan stumbled in their first game against Korea’s Yoo Yeon Seong and Jang Ye Na but still won in three games.

Half of the home team’s six pairs made it through the last 16, including Edi Subaktiar / Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja (pictured above), who had a little trouble in their opening game against their unheralded French opponents.

Click here for complete Tuesday 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.