PB Jaya Raya came back from two matches down to beat Unisys 3-2 in the women’s final at the 2013 Djarum Badminton Superliga when Bellaetrix Manuputty (pictured) beat young Aya Ohori in three games to clinch the tie.
By Don Hearn. Photos: Ira Ratnati (live)
The organizers of the 2013 Djarum Badminton Superliga could hardly have been more pleased with the way the event unfolded. Over half the team ties finished with a full and thrilling 3-2 scoreline. In the women’s event, this applied to both the final and the third place playoff.
PB Jaya Raya (pictured below) finished the week as champions but their final struggle was even more of a fairy-tale ending than most 3-2 team ties as they dropped their first two matches before coming roaring back to take three in a row and with them, the title.
Jaya Raya began the final looking a little understrength, however, as world #10 Minatsu Mitani, who had already lost to Unisys compatriot Sayaka Takahashi in group play, was not in the line-up. Unisys started off
“Mitani had a problem with her foot. That’s why we didn’t put her in the line-up,” said Jaya Raya coach Bambang Suprianto.
Instead, the fielded 16-year-old Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand, who was fresh off a victory over Tai Tzu Ying in the semi-finals. Busanan took the first game but then dropped the next two to go down in 72 minutes.
Next up was a rematch between Ayaka Takahashi / Misaki Matsutomo and Pia Zebadiah Bernadet / Rizki Amelia Pradipta, two pairs that have met four times recently, beginning with their meeting in the semi-final of the Indonesia Grand Prix Gold in September. The Indonesians came their closest yet to toppling their opponents, now Japan’s top-ranked pair, but still came up just shy, losing the decider in extra points after 83 minutes of play.
Unisys then turned to Shizuka Uchida to finish off the win. The Russian Open runner-up had been playing well throughout the week, belying her #77 world ranking, and had already beaten Busanan in group play. This time, though Uchida had to face Olympian Adriyanti Firdasari and went down in straight games.
“I wasn’t expecting that I would be in the line-up for the final because I lost my two matches in the qualifying round,” said Firdasari. “But then I found out I was going to be playing so I just tried my best, because I wanted to give something to my club.”
Once world #17 Anneke Feinya Agustin / Nitya Krishinda Maheswari took their second doubles point as expected, it fell to Aya Ohori (pictured left) to finally peg the win for Unisys, a lot of pressure to apply to a player two days before her 17th birthday. What’s more, Ohori had to face Bellaetrix Manuputty, who is not only older but who had had the experience of helping Indonesia to the team gold in the World University Games two years ago.
Ohori did work hard to win the second game 21-19 after dropping the first, but she finally let the third game slip away 15-21 and with it, Jaya Raya took away the women’s team title.
“In the second game, I was in a little bit of a rush,” said Bellaetrix after the match. “Thank god I was able to play well in the third game. I had a lot of support in the stadium, and coach asked me to be more relaxed.”
“The girls were playing well today,” said coach Suprianto. “We were worried when Unisys led 2-0, but then Firda was playing well so we had a chance to win the second doubles and then Bella could clinch the final.”
In the 3rd place tie, Renasas looked strong to do the same thing against PB Djarum as they bounced back after dropping the first two points to Djarum’s singles aces. However, in the deciding match, Reika Kakiiwa / Yuki Fukushima (pictured) were not up to the task against Indonesian veterans Vita Marissa / Meiliana Jauhari, who came back from a game down to win 21-23, 21-18, 21-15.
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