INDONESIA OPEN R16 – Seeds down, rising stars to shine

Seeded status does not always mean that victory will be easily achieved afterwards.  On a bad day for several seeded players at Indonesia Open 2019, Kento Momota, Chen Long and […]

Seeded status does not always mean that victory will be easily achieved afterwards.  On a bad day for several seeded players at 2019, , Chen Long and Anthony Ginting bid early goodbyes after defeats by rising stars.

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

Indonesia Open defending champion Kento Momota (pictured right) was eliminated in the second round of the Indonesia Open 2019.  The Japanese star had to bid an early goodbye after losing 16-21, 21-11, 18-21 to China’s Huang Yuxiang.

The world #1 had a very tight match from the beginning.  However, Momota managed to dominate the second game and forced a decider, which he unfortunately lost after a tight battle.

Momota admitted his failure to advance into the quarter-finals of the Indonesia Open 2019 was caused by his own mistakes but also by his opponent’s superior performance and condition: “It’s a shame I lost the match today.  My opponent was better physically than me and I wasn’t very good at attacking my opponent.

“It’s a shame I didn’t play well today but I will try my best in the next match at the Japan Open.  Playing at home of course I will prepare well for it,” he said.

Never ranked higher than #20 in the world, Huang Yuxiang (pictured left) has a knack for upsetting top players at big events, even if his own only major title is one Grand Prix Gold.  He was capable of ousting Srikanth Kidambi and Chou Tien Chen at successive All Englands but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to go all the way to the podium.  This cause might be helped, however, by the other developments in the men’s singles draw.

Another key men’s singles match on Thursday brought together home player, Anthony Ginting against Thai representative, Kantaphon Wangcharoen.

The 7th seed player faced a fierce battle from his opponent and was forced to admit defeat after a tight rubber game that ended 19-21.

“Today’s match was tight from the start,” Ginting said.  “It is very unfortunate that I lost the first game when I had such a big lead but I made a lot of mistakes and gave my opponent so many chances to attack.

“In the second game, I started to take control of the match but he was more determined to win and tried to attack me more and more, which led to my defeat,” he continued.

Olympic gold medallist beaten by his fan

Nor did the surprises end there.  Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia (pictured) made a surprise by getting rid of Olympic champion, Chen Long.  The world #16 played tough in three games to claim victory over his childhood idol.

Grabbing the first game 21-16, Lee lost the second game 19-21 due to missing focus on critical points.  In the third game, both players play extra carefully to avoid giving up points with their own mistakes.

The 21-year-old Malaysian reached match point first, but was successfully chased to 20-20.  Lee managed to remain calm until he was finally able to end Chen Long’s Indonesia Open campaign with a score of 22-20.

“I’m so happy.  I didn’t expect to beat the Olympic gold medallist, Chen Long,” said the 21-year-old.  “He has also been my idol since I was a kid.  You can see from how I play, I have also copied his game.  It’s almost the same and once again I’m very happy.”

Lee Zii Jia is one of Malaysia’s hopes to fill the void left by their legendary player, Lee Chong Wei, who declared his retirement last month.

“I think it’s all about fighting spirit and preparing the worst,” Lee Zii Jia shared after the match.  “The whole match was full of long rallies.  It feels like we had around 60 shots on one point.  That’s why we have to prepare for the worst.”

When the dust cleared, China had only one representative in the quarter-finals.  The legendary player Lin Dan lost to Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen with 22-24, 21-17, 13-21, while Shi Yuqi (pictured bottom) retired from his match against Anders Antonsen after twisting his ankle, which led to some serious swelling.  No Chinese player has won the men’s singles title in Indonesia in 30 years and Huang Yuxiang is the only one with a hope of ending that drought.

Click here for complete Thursday results

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.