INDONESIA OPEN Finals – Yamaguchi adds another big one to title collection

Akane Yamaguchi finally reached her first ever Indonesia Open title. Story: Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live) Akane Yamaguchi of Japan picked up […]

Akane Yamaguchi finally reached her first ever title.

Story: Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta
Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Akane Yamaguchi of Japan picked up the biggest paycheque of her career with a stunning performance against Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured right).  Playing fast with lots of attacking, Yamaguchi needed only straight games to secure the Indonesia Open title.

Despite the Indian representative’s 10-4 edge in their head-to-head record, Yamaguchi met the challenge by continuing to play aggressively, and the 22-year-old did not hesitate to even raise the tempo and deal out hard, deadly smashes.

“Sindhu is a player who is taller than me.  She also has a fast smash, so I have to increase speed to be able to return her attack and get points,” Yamaguchi said.

For this world #4, today’s win means a lot considering that this title is the first title at the Indonesia Open tournament and at the same time, the first victory in the event.

“I am very happy with this victory.  This is the first time I’ve won in Indonesia and also at a Super 1000 tournament.  I enjoyed play here in Jakarta because my name is called very enthusiastically.  While in my own country it’s not like that,” she added with a big smile.

Akane Yamaguchi (pictured left) also stated that there was no special preparation for the Olympics because of the intense competition but she claimed he would continue to do his best to get the opportunity.

Title defense for world #2s

The afternoon opened in Jakarta with Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota (pictured below) successfully defending the Indonesia Open title they won last summer.  This time, Fukushima/Hirota won the second Indonesia Open title by defeating their compatriots Misaki Matsumoto / Ayaka Takahashi.

In the final match held at Istora Senayan, Jakarta, Fukushima/Hirota managed to take the lead from the start of the match.  The world #2 pair did not experience significant difficulties and closed out the first game with a score of 21-16.

Not wanting to go down easily, Matsutomo/Takahashi tried to attack more in the second game.  The 2016 Olympic gold medallists even took a 17-10 lead but unfortunately, that advantage does not last long.

The second seeds then raised the tempo of their game until they managed to tie it at 18-all.  Mastutomo/Takahashi, who were sick for 3 days before, were finally defeated with a hard smash to end the match.  Fukushima/Hirota won with a final score of 21-16 21-18 in 51 minutes.

“In our first game there were no difficulties.  In the second game we saw our seniors were not fit enough and I think that was our chance to win,” Hirota said.

“The best part of the match was when we were able to play fast and return the opponents’ attack.  About the worst part was when we were fooled by the opponents’ game so that we lags far behind after the interval.  It’s not a bad thing, but it’s just unfortunate that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get left behind like that,” said Fukushima.

Zheng/Huang take the first Indonesia Open title

The world #1 mixed doubles pair from China, Zheng Siwei / Huang Yaqiong (pictured below) also had good reason to celebrate their result in the final of the 2019 Indonesia Open.  Since the beginning of the new , the duo has won all of the Super 750 events and already this year, they captured both of the Super 1000 titles that eluded them in 2018.

Challenge their compatriots in the final in Jakarta, Zheng/Huang did not provide the space for Wang Yilyu / Huang Dongping  to develop their game.  The world #1 won in two straight games to claim their fourth title in Istora Senayan after they won Asian Games gold last summer and back-to-back titles at the Indonesia Masters.

“We played quite well, the preparation was also good, especially the atmosphere on the court was very supportive so we could win the match today,” Huang Yaqiong said.

This victory marked the first time they had won a title in Indonesia that was accompanied by that giant Indonesia Open pay-cheque, even though they have won so many titles, including the prestigious World Championships in addition to the Jakarta Asian Games.  In the last two years, the Indonesia Open title has belongs to the home partnership Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir and the winnings at this Super 1000 event are more than triple what they’ve taken home after either of their Indonesia Masters victories.

“We can admit that the absence of the Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir  at this tournament was very profitable, because the pair usually performed well when competing as the host,” Zheng said.

With this championship achievement, world’s top mixed pair is also more ambitious to collect all the tournament titles held by the BWF before focusing on next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.

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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.