INDONESIA OPEN QF – ‘Daddies’ prove themselves once again

Hendra Setiawan / Mohammad Ahsan secured a spot in semi-final after a thrilling match against Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo / Yuta Watanabe. Story: Nadhira Rahmani, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta Photos: […]

Hendra Setiawan / Mohammad Ahsan secured a spot in semi-final after a thrilling match against Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo / Yuta Watanabe.

Story: Nadhira Rahmani, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta
Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Indonesian veterans Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan (pictured top) – known affectionately to many of their fans as ‘The Daddies’ – survived a riveting men’s doubles quarter-final match with a 21-15, 9-21, 22-20 triumph over the Asian Champions from  Japan.  The match lasted for over an hour before the Indonesian pair secured their spot in the semi-final.

“In the second game, they changed the strategy, we were not prepared and we felt the pressure on us.  That is why we lost so many points in the second game,” Hendra admitted.

The 5th-seeded Hiroyuki Endo / Yuta Watanabe (pictured right) were not intimidated by the higher-seeded home favourites, despite trailing 9-17 in the deciding game, the Japanese pair embarked upon narrowing the gap and even inched ahead to earn match point first at 20-19.

The Japanese duo managed to keep attacking and maintaining the quick tempo.  It was the greater experience of both Setiawan and Ahsan that helped the Indonesians edge ahead at the crucial moments.  Though Endo is slightly older than Ahsan, the Indonesian pair has been together over twice as long and they have played in all the biggest tournaments together.

“Praise the Lord, we were able to get through this intense match,” said Mohammad Ahsan afterward.  “We had a huge lead in the third game, but our opponents’ defense was unbreakable and we were impatient to finish the game.  They placed their shots very well and we were caught out by their tactics.”

Hendra Setiawan admitted, it was their much greater experience that did the talking: “The key is that we do not allow ourselves to give up until the match is really over, and we always keep that in mind every time we play,” said the three-time World Champion.

The fourth seeds will take on Takuro Hoki / Yugo Kobayashi (pictured bottom) for a place in the final.  That unseeded Japanese duo stunned Asian Games silver medallists Alfian/Ardianto late in the day.

Minions keep hopes alive for all-Indonesian final

Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Markus Fernaldi Gideon (pictured right) had an easy win over debut Chinese duo, Ou Xuanyi /  Zhang Nan in the quarter-final round of the 2019.  The top seeds triumphed 21-12, 21-16.

“I think our opponents played quite well.  They have good variety in their attacking style, but we were more prepared and we could control the game,” Sukamuljo stated.

“This pair could go far, but they still need time to adjust each other’s playing style and to be more solid, this was their debut as a pair,” said Marcus.

The world #1 will next face reigning World Champions Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen in the semi-final.  The Indonesian pair leads the head-to-head record 8-2 but the Chinese duo won the last time they played each other, at the World Tour Finals in December.

“The head-to-head record will not really affect much on how we play tomorrow, we already know each other’s games and playing style, the match against them is always tight and intense, and we are ready to give all we have,” said the 22-year-old Sukamuljo.

“They are tall and have great power.  Those are the things that we anticipate from them.  They also play fast and accurately.  We have to be focused and prepared for tomorrow,” added Gideon.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

About Nadhira Rahmani