Two Japanese women’s teams booked semi-finals spots Tuesday at the Djarum Badminton Superliga while Korea Ginseng narrowly lost their tie and a chance at advancing to PB Djarum.
By Don Hearn. Photos: Ira Ratnati (live)
Japanese women’s teams Unisys and Renasas both booked their berths in the semi-finals yesterday but the closest finish of the day was the win by Vita Marissa (pictured) and Meiliana Jauhari over Lee Se Rang Kim Seul Bi. With their 27-25 victory in the deciding game, the Indonesians secured a semi-final spot while relegating Korea Ginseng to 3rd spot in the group.
Juliane Schenk put the pressure on the Koreans when she beat Malaysia Open semi-finalist Bae Yeon Ju handily to take the 1-0 lead for PB Djarum. With much more difficulty, Jung Kyung Eun / Yoo Hyun Young evened things out with a 3-game win over Jenna Gozali / Komala Dewi. Kim Ye Ji did her best against Taiwan star Tai Tzu Ying but clearly lacked the experience to deal with a top ten player.
Also lacking the experience where Korea Ginseng’s second doubles pair of 21-year-old Lee Se Rang and Kim Seul Bi (pictured), who is returning to competition after a long hiatus. The Korean girls fought long and hard but after an hour and fought back from 17-20 down in the deciding game to gain their own match point before losing the final battle of wills.
“We didn’t realize that we were under pressure, and the wind direction and position was an advantage for our opponent after interval,” said Vita Marissa after the match.
“Our position is better than them, but their doubles players are fighters. They played well. We had a little problem because sometimes we had some miscommunication on court, since I am not a regular partner of Meiliana.”
Renasas had already completed the elimination of defending champions PB Jaya Raya Suryanaga in the afternoon session. They then waited for PB Djarum to ensure there would be no 3-way tie for the Group Y lead. The Renasas victory relied on the hard fighting by their unsung singles players Kana Ito and Ayumi Mine.
First, Ito caused a huge upset over Japanese veteran Eriko Hirose in a 75-minute marathon. Then Ayumi scraped back from 18-20 down in her third game to beat India Grand Prix Gold champion Lindaweni Fanetri (pictured) in another 70-minute battle.
“I was a little bit unlucky today,” said Lindaweni after her match. “We had never met before and I was in a rush to finish the match.”
While Suryanaga has been mathematically eliminated, they still have one more team tie remaining. Their manager Sunoto said “No matter what, we will fight our best in the last battle against PB Djarum.”
Japan’s other representatives, Unisys, are undefeated in group play and have finished all 3 ties. They relied on young Aya Ohori, who will turn 17 on Chinese New Year, to clinch their win over Mutiara by beatin Desi Hera 24-22, 23-25, 21-15.
PB Mutiara can still force a 3-way tie for second spot in Group X however, if they can beat PB Jaya Raya on Wednesday evening.
The men’s groups are more open, although PB Suryanaga has clinched a semi-final spot, at least. They again relied on their three singles stars for all their points in a 3-2 victory over PB Mutiara.
The other close match on the day was the 3-2 win by PB SGS PLN over PB Jaya Raya. The SGS import singles stars got the better of the Thai imports for Jaya Raya, who countered with the edge in homegrown doubles talent.
The tie came down to a 3-game bout between veteran star Taufik Hidayat (pictured) and unknown 21-year-old Hermansyah, which Taufik finally won 21-11, 17-21, 21-10.
PB Djarum dropped another tie after fielding a weak singles line-up against Tangkas Specs. Their chances of advancing now rely on PB Mutiara winning their next two matches.
The Tangkas manager Hendry Saputra said, “Like I said before, at the team event, the strategy become more essential. I thought Djarum would put Hayom in the line-up, because if Andre had to meet Simon with Simon’s condition right now, probably the result wouldbe different.”
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