INDONESIA OPEN QF – Tournament host ensures first final spot early

Afternoon spectators were treated to some disappointing losses by home shuttlers on the TV court but Indonesia managed to ensure spots in two of Sunday’s finals. Story: Sulistianing Ambarwati, Badzine […]

Afternoon spectators were treated to some disappointing losses by home shuttlers on the TV court but Indonesia managed to ensure spots in two of Sunday’s finals.

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

Thirty-three minutes were used very well by 2017 mixed doubles champions, Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir (pictured).  Playing in the first match on quarter-finals day, Ahmad and Natsir roped their opponents into their strategy of playing.

Liliyana Natsir admitted that she and her partner played better than the previous match versus Matsutomo and Kobayashi: “We played much better than yesterday because we directly used our strategy from the very beginning of the match, but in the second game our opponents changed their strategy and that gave them the lead at 11-8,” commented Natsir after the match.

After the second game interval, both Ahmad and Natsir got back on track and quickly took back the lead.  The match ended 21-17, 21-14 and ensured Indonesia of having one place in the mixed doubles final because the defending champions were set to meet the winner between an all-Indonesian quarter-final, between Ricky Karanda Suwardi / Deby Susanto and Hafiz Faizal / Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja.

Tontowi Ahmad said that the semi-final would be interesting because they and Faizal/Widjaja – who emerged the victors later in the afternoon – know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

“They must have more energy and spirit or even motivation to win, but we as the senior pair also want to win and become champions again, so we will keep our focus and concentration in the match,” Liliyana Natsir explained.

Matsutomo and Takahashi into the semi-final

Despite having lost their only previous encounter with Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi (pictured), Huang Dongping and Li Wenmei played very well in their first game on Friday in Jakarta.   The Japanese pair had lots of trouble returning Huang and Li’s attacks.  Both of the players made errors at the net and sent returns out of court.  The first game was finally over and belonged to Huang and Li.

Playing at the same time as Indonesian shuttlers on Court 1, Berry and Hardianto, this first women’s doubles quarter-final also elicited significant cheering from the supporters due to the epic performances by both pairs.  It did not distract the Japanese pair’s focus and they won the second game convincingly.

“We know that Indonesian fans like to shout and yell, but we are happy whenever they cheer for us,” said Matsutomo.  “We won the title in Malaysia, so we hope to get the same opportunity to be the champions here.”

He Bingjiao over Sindhu

Malaysia Open women’s singles runner-up He Bingjiao came into the quarter-finals in Jakarta having lost her last two matches against 3rd seed Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured right) from India.  He came out firing and pulled away in both games.  In the second game, Sindhu was left behind as He jumped out to an 18-11 lead as the Indian continued to make unforced errors, and it was soon all over, in straight games.

Sindhu evaluated herself in this tournament, saying that she has to play better, especially in  the next tournament in Thailand and the Asian Games: “Today was not my day.  I made many unforced errors while Bingjiao played much better than me,” she said.

For the next round, He Bingjiao (pictured below) was ready to play the winner between Tai Tzu Ying and Kirsty Gilmour: “I am excited to meet whoever my opponent in semi-final round will be because the record between me and both Tai and Kirsty is left, so hopefully tomorrow I can do my best,” explained He, who will of course be up against Tai Tzu Ying on Saturday, as the world #1 beat the Scot later in the day.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

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