INDONESIA OPEN 2018 Day 2 – Olympic medallists put to the test

P. V. Sindhu and Lee Chong Wei were each stretched to 3 games but two European Rio medallists were shown the exit early at the Indonesia Open. Story: Sulistianing Ambarwati, […]

P. V. Sindhu and Lee Chong Wei were each stretched to 3 games but two European Rio medallists were shown the exit early at the .

Story: Sulistianing Ambarwati, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta
Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Late in the day on Wednesday, the last of the first round matches were not easy on the two women’s singles finalists from the Rio Olympics.  First, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured top) needed to play a  tough match against Pornpawee Chochuwong from Thailand.

This week marked the third meeting of Sindhu and Chochuwong but despite her experience against the world #3, Pornpawee Chochuwong (pictured) still underperformed in the first game and lost it 15-21. However, the 20-year-old kept attacking Sindhu and frequently sent her diving to reach the shuttlecock, until the Thai got the second game 21-19 with a straight smash  down the sideline.

The score remained tight at the beginning of the last game, but Sindhu stepped up her attacks until she finally left her opponent behind, winning convincingly 21-13.

After the match, Sindhu said, “The second game it was a fast game, so in the last I tried to control and lead the game by avoiding errors.”

Still, the Rio silver medallist fared better than the woman who beat her.  Carolina Marin continued to struggle.  Although she repeated as European Champion this year, she hasn’t been in an open event final since Japan last autumn.

On Wednesday, she was dumped from the Indonesia Open in the first round, suffering her first loss to Sayaka Sato (pictured) since they were both teenagers, back in 2010.  Sato saved four match points on a 6-point run to extend the match to three games, then kept the momentum to take the win.

Twelfth in the bag, now trying for a seventh

The match between the two ladies’ trials was men’s singles, featured a tough match for 7th-seeded Lee Chong Wei (pictured below).  Coming off a huge win at his home event, Lee still had his trouble against Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long.  Though not seeded in this tournament, Ng has his own collection of titles and has even proven he can get the better of Lee Chong Wei.

After Lee took the first game, the second game belonged to Ka Long as he tried to penetrate the Malaysian’s defense and he managed to take it 21-18. In the last game, this 35 year-old player did not surrender easily.  In fact, the long-time world #1 forced the end change in the third game with a whopping 11-5 lead and kept up the pressure until he had the last point at 21-10.

There is a chance for Chong Wei to get his seventh title in Indonesia Open, but he said it is absolutely not easy to get: “I will try to do my best in every match.  Of course, I want to get title in this tournament. I will also try to be better for tomorrow.”

Tough ticket for the Round of 16

Lee Chong Wei’s opponent this past Sunday did not have it any easier.  Kidambi Srikanth knew that even as the 4th seed, he would not have it easy against Kento Momota (pictured below).  The Japanese star had beaten him three consecutive times, most recently last week in Malaysia.

In the first game, Momota did not do enough to attack Srikanth, and the Indian won it quickly, 21-12. On the second game, Kanto started to beat the Kidambi much better than first game. The second game score stayed tighter at first.  Both players showed epic netting when the score was 8-9, then Momota had the 11-9 lead by the interval.  From there, Kidambi began to gift points to his opponent on errors and the match became even at one game apiece.

“I am really happy about the match.  What I did for today is actually much better than in Malaysia,” explained Kidambi after finally losing the last game 15-21 to Momota.  “There are a lot of improvements in today’s match, but I just did many small mistakes.”

Indonesian supporters rally behind Mad and Mads

Playing on court 1, Mads Conrad Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding (pictured below) put together a great match against Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi Lin from Chinese Taipei. At the beginning of the first game, the score was very tight, but the Danes kept up the steep smashes and managed to stay in front.  Chen and Wang were not easily defeated, making the most of their own attacks and playing very good defense.

However, after narrowly taking the first game, the tall pair from Denmark kept attacking relentlessly and Chen and Wang’s calmness and bravery wasn’t enough. In 37 minutes, Conrad Petersen and Kolding had won the match 21-19, 21-13.

At the same time of the match, Kamilla Juhl and Christina Pedersen were playing their own Chinese Taipei opponents on the adjacent court. Both the Madses and Rytter-Juhl/Pedersen were supported by the shouting and cheering from the Indonesian fans but the Olympic silver medallists were not able to find the winning formula and scored only 14 points total in their 2nd and 3rd games.

“Today’s match was nice because we got support from Indonesian supporters,” explained Mads Conrad Peterson, “but tomorrow we will meet Angga and Ricky, so I am not sure that we still get their support for the next match.”

Click here for complete Wednesday results

About Sulistianing Ambarwati