INDONESIA OPEN Finals – A victory to remember

A three-year home drought was ended as Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir won their first Indonesian Open together. History was also made by the unseeded Sayaka Sato, who became the […]

A three-year home drought was ended as Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir won their first Indonesian Open together. History was also made by the unseeded Sayaka Sato, who became the first Japanese women’s singles player to take the title in Jakarta.

By Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Sudirman revenge

In the opening match of the final round of the 2017 , Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (pictured right) managed to take their first title here, as the Chinese world #4 pair successfully beat the Korean representatives Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee (pictured below) in a 3-game battle.  Chang/Lee dominated the first game, but could not keep the lead in the crucial points in the second and third.

Chang admitted that it is not easy to beat this talented Chinese pair: “We’ve played very well during this Indonesia Open, but unfortunately we lost in the final round,” said Chang after the game.

This victory was revenge for Chen/Jia’s defeat in the final of this year’s Sudirman Cup, and added to their head to head over Chang and Lee to 7-2.

“In this match we played our best, 100%. It was an extraordinary performance from us for the supporters. The Koreans played under pressure and could not cope, while we made the pressure to try to get ahead,” said Jia.

“The distance between the Sudirman Cup tournaments to the Indonesia Open is only a week, we do not feel there is a technical improvement, maybe we won because there is a change of strategy,” said Jia, who dedicated this victory to her father.

No happy song for Sung

Despite her status as an unseeded player, Japanese women’s singles player Sayaka Sato managed to create her own bit of history, in defeating Sung Ji Hyun (pictured below) in the final, Sato listed herself as the first Japanese player to win the Indonesia Open women’s singles title.

Sato opened up very well, taking 4 consecutive points immediately and was untroubled in taking the first game 21-13.  Sung managed to win the second game 17-21 to force the deciding rubber, winning the last seven points in a row.

The failure to win the match in two games did not discourage Sato though, and as in the first game, Sato played dominantly in the decider, confirming her first title with the final score 21-14.

“I am relieved that I have won and become a champion because getting one point over Sung is very difficult. The last 20 minutes of the game, I keep remembering the times of training, whatever I have practiced and learned,” said the 26-year-old.

“I will put this victory in my heart. I am determined to continue playing well and hunting for other Superseries titles,” Sato said happily.

Sato waited longer, between her first final and her first title, than any singles player in Superseries history.  In fact, between her loss on a Sunday at this event back in 2010 and her win this year, she was able to make no finals appearances, and instead spent part of those 7 years returning from a serious injury.  Only Indonesia’s Greysia Polii had a longer ‘wait’ and she reached a total of four finals over the span of 8.5 years before finally titling in 2015.

Ahmad/Natsir break the jinx

Indonesian badminton lovers can finally smile. After a three-year home drought at the Indonesia Open, Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (pictured above) managed to relieve their thirst for the title.

The gold medallists from the Rio Olympics won their first Indonesia Open title together, beating current world #1s Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (pictured bottom), Liliyana repeating the success she last achieved in mixed doubles with Nova Widianto in 2005.

Natsir played very aggressively in front of the net while Ahmad covered the court very well. Although still not recovered from injury, Natsir was able to mute the motion of Chen Qingchen, who is 12 years her junior. The Indonesian pair took 45 minutes to win the game with 22-20, 21-15.

“This victory is very meaningful for me and Tontowi. This is the first time. After 3 times in the final, but we always lose. It’s very exciting especially with this achievement, my title is complete,” said Natsir.

“Chen Qingchen has a very good speed and attack. She is young, so she is stronger than me. I was trying to play using tactics and experience, because if I only use power and speed, I definitely lose,” said this Manado-born player.

This Indonesia Open title adds to the series of titles that Liliyana Natsir has achieved during her career, and she also hopes she will remain in good shape.

“My greatest hope is to finish my career with a complete set of titles. So far, I have not got the Asian Games, I really want to win gold next year,” said the player who is familiarly called Butet.

After shaking hands with his opponents, Tontowi Ahmad celebrated his Father’s Day win by hoisting his son as he went to accept his prize.

Final results
WD:  Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) [5] beat Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee (KOR) [3]   21-19, 15-21, 21-10
MS:  Kidambi Srikanth (IND) beat Kazumasa Sakai (JPN)  21-11, 21-19
WS:  Sayaka Sato (JPN) beat Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) [5]  21-13, 17-21, 21-14
MD:  Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (CHN) [3] beat Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) [2]  21-19, 19-21, 21-18
XD:  Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (IND) [6] beat Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1]  22-20, 21-15

Click here for complete finals day results

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Naomi Indartiningrum

About Naomi Indartiningrum

Naomi began as a Badzine Correspondent in 2015, while still a Business Management student living in Jakarta. A badminton enthusiast since 2007, she mostly spends her spare time writing about local badminton events and also maintaining one of largest badminton twitter accounts in Indonesia.