It was a day for the reds at the red carpeted Stadium Putra of Bukit Jalil. Two teams – Indonesia and Japan – who came for their showdowns this afternoon in red outfits, claimed tickets for the quarter-finals not just for themselves, but also for the other teams competing in their groups as they ended the run for India and first-time entrants Singapore respectively.
By Ooi Ee Lyn, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)
With the home team and several other big names such as China, Denmark and Thailand taking a break for the day, the Putra Stadium was much quieter than it was on Day 1. There were perhaps less than a hundred people watching with purchased tickets, and the sum of athletes and teams, security guards, or even of the media alone outnumbered the spectators on the stands.
Despite the lack of supporters, the teams were hot on their heels and went all out in playing their respective roles for the afternoon. India and Singapore, especially, were eager to break through the obstacles given to them as the fate of their teams was on the line, and for both teams, losing the tie this afternoon would mean falling off the train heading to the quarter-finals.
It was déjà vu for Akshay Dewalkar / Pranaav Jerry Chopra, who went up first for India when they saw history repeating itself, losing to Angga Pratama / Rian Agung Saputra (pictured above) of Indonesia in straight games. Dewalkar / Chopra had fallen short of beating the Indonesians in the first round of the Malaysia Open four months ago in the same venue. Failing to avenge that loss, they handed the court to PV Sindhu to take up against Lindaweni Fanetri in the women’s singles.
Sindhu was 2-1 ahead in her head-to-head record against Lindaweni, but that clearly did not serve as an advantage as it only took the Indonesian two games to bag a second point for her team. “We know each other’s game, but there were too many errors on my side. Sometimes I played safe too. It’s not my day – that’s all I can tell,” said Sindhu while flashing a light smile of disappointment. She however, expressed faith that her team might be able to turn the tables. “I did my best but I lost. I wish they will win. I wish them all the best. There is hope.”
As soon as Sindhu retreated, India’s top men’s singles Kashyap Parupalli (pictured right) took over the court, well prepared to brush off Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka from the opposing team. He lived up to his ranking in his country and claimed the first point for team India after defeating Rumbaka and exacting some payback for his loss against the Indonesian in 2009 and 2010 on home soil.
“I had confidence. Fitness has always been my advantage. Today is my day and I think I did very well,” said Parupalli. However, contrary to what Sindhu hoped for, Parupalli stated, “I think it’s a tough task [for us to bounce back and beat Indonesia in this tie]. Our women’s doubles may stand a chance, but Indonesia’s mixed doubles pair is a two-time All England champion. Indonesia is a very strong team. I think that is the thing that is lacking in India – the team spirit.”
India’s journey in the 2013 Sudirman Cup ended when the reunion of Greysia Polii and her long-lost partner Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (pictured left) smashed Ashwini Ponnappa / Pradnya Gadre’s hope of twisting the outcome of the tie. With Arun Vishnu / Aparna Balan’s shortcoming in the mixed doubles against Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir, India’s Sudirman Cup story ended with a 1-4 defeat against Indonesia in their group’s tie.
Rexy: We hope to beat China 5-0
To finish up the round-robins of the event, Indonesia will be facing defending champions China tomorrow. But no matter win or lose, both teams will head to the quarter-finals on Thursday. Therefore, in cases where any team does not mind the ranking in their groups, they could take on the tie as a friendly match against their opponent. On that, Rexy Mainaky, now Indonesia’s head of development and team manager for the event said, “My principle is that we’re not just here to participate. We may be in the same group as China, but if we can upset them, we will do it.” When he was told that China’s head coach Li Yongbo had said that he hopes for China to triumph over Indonesia with a clean-sheet, Rexy exclaimed between laughs, “We hope to beat them 5-0 too!”
End of Singapore’s first time
The victory was simple and straightforward for Japan. All England runners-up Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa took the lead for Japan by beating Singapore’s Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Terry Yeo in the men’s doubles match, and Gu Juan, who contributed the only point for the team against Denmark yesterday, did not manage to bag another one from Japan’s world #10 Minatsu Mitani this afternoon. Following third runner Derek Wong’s (pictured below) fall before Japan’s third ranked men’s singles player Takuma Ueda, Singapore was sent packing to leave the grounds of their first time competing in the event with a chance to actually aim for the Cup.
Feeling happy to have pushed the Japanese to the third game, Derek said post-match, “I wasn’t too rushed to get points. Sometimes I get excited, and end up making too many mistakes. I played Jan O with patience yesterday, and that’s what I did in the second game today. That’s when points come to me easily. I’m quite happy overall in Kuala Lumpur, but badminton is a never-ending game. There are always things to improve on.” He also commented on Singapore’s first try as part of the elite division. “I think all teammates did well. Our opponents are tough especially in the doubles, so it was overall a good experience for us. I’m actually quite happy.”
In the end, Japan wrapped up the tie 5-0 and earned themselves a pass into the quarter-finals by ousting Yao Lei / Shinta Mulia Sari and Chrisnanta Danny Bawa / Vanessa Neo from the Singaporean squad in the next two matches.
Japan will be meeting Denmark tomorrow to decide on their rankings in the group. “The match against Denmark is very important for us, but we are ready. [To win]We have to win in the two singles and one of the doubles. Our mixed doubles is weak. Maybe the women’s doubles have a better chance,” said Japan’s head coach Park Joo Bong, denying the possibility of taking things easy now that Japan has confirmed their spot in the quarter-finals.
In the second division, Netherlands steamrolled past Austria winning all five matches, while in group 3, Ukraine shared the good news by ousting Philippines 5-0, and Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand 2-3, winning only in both singles disciplines.
Monday afternoon results:
Indonesia beat India 4-1
Japan beat Singapore 5-0
Netherlands beat Austria 5-0
Ukraine beat Philippines 5-0
New Zealand beat Sri Lanka 3-2
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