INDONESIA OPEN 2017 R16 – India’s young guns tackle top stars

Indian men’s singles had a great day as both H. S. Prannoy and Srikanth Kidambi ousted the 1st and 4th seeds, as both former champions played below par. By Naomi […]

Indian men’s singles had a great day as both H. S. Prannoy and Srikanth Kidambi ousted the 1st and 4th seeds, as both former champions played below par.

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

An open women’s draw

Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi (pictured above) successfully put herself in the quarter-finals of the 2017. In the opening match, the third seed successfully beat her compatriot, Nozomi Okuhara with 15-21, 21-19, 21-15.

The difficulty in controlling the drift on the courts caused Akane to make a lot of mistakes in the first game but despite being less satisfied with the game today, the world #4 – who only just turned 20 – was delighted with the victory.

“I am happy to win even though I didn’t play my best, but I can play patiently so I can win the game,” said Yamaguchi afterward.  “The defeat of top players [such as Ratchanok and Marin] makes it a bigger chance for me in this tournament but I have to play better. Tai Tzu Ying is the toughest competitor in this tournament,” she added.

In other matches, Thailand’s last representative in women’s singles, Nitchaon Jindapol (pictured right), also ensured she would step into the next round. Jindapol managed to surprise India’s all time favourite and 3-time Indonesia Open winner Saina Nehwal 21-15, 6-21, 21-16.

“In the game, I just tried to play the best game because I have never beaten her. This victory is amazing,” said Jindapol.

This sweet victory not only marks Jindapol’s first ever victory over Nehwal, but it also means she will be making her first quarter-final appearance in a event since 2014, when she reached the final four of this same event.

Son Wan Ho standing strong

Despite being ranked 1st in the world, the journey of Son Wan Ho (pictured left) to the second half of the tournament has not been smooth. Faced with young Chinese player Zhao Junpeng, Son was forced to play the rubber game after he failed to convert the score 20-20 into a winning point in the opener. Son lost focus and Zhao easily took advantage of the opportunity to win 22-20. In the second and third games, Son began to show his class to win 21-7 and 21-16.

Son Wan Ho’s chances of winning the Indonesia Open title are wide open as top players like Lee Chong Wei and Jan Ø Jorgensen were knocked out earlier.

Lee Chong Wei, who did not give his best performance, was forced to admit the advantage that unseeded Indian H. S. Prannoy (pictured right) had over him on the day was insurmountable. Prannoy, who started the tournament from the qualification stage, successfully tackled the Rio de Janeiro Olympic silver medallist and won in straight games, 21-10, 21-18.

“I am very happy to win the match against Lee Chong Wei.  I certainly did not expect to win this game,” admitted Prannoy.

“There is no specific strategy against Chong Wei.  I was just trying to play aggressively and I think he is not in the best performance,” Prannoy added.

Jorgensen still need some time to recover

Other bad results were also marked by the 2014 Indonesia Open men’s singles champion Jan Ø Jorgensen. Playing in 3 tight games, Jorgensen failed to advance after being defeated by another Indian representative, Srikanth Kidambi.

Srikanth appeared to attack from the beginning and managed to win the first game with 21-15. This 24-year-old player actually had a chance to finish the match in straight games. Unfortunately for the Indian, Jorgensen managed to save match point in the second game and win 20-22.

In the third game, Jorgensen’s knee injury made him unable to move freely on court. His steps became slower and it before more difficult for him to control the shuttlecock on a windy court. Utilizing those conditions, Kidambi successfully locked his victory by 21-16.

“Injuries meant I could not go all out in today’s game and it was very difficult to control the windy conditions,” said Jorgensen.

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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.