INDONESIA GPG 2011 – Old friends meet again

Lilyana Natsir was the one who took Vita Marissa’s spot with Nova Widianto, when Vita injured her shoulder 6 years ago. After 2 World titles and a controversy after Nova […]

Lilyana Natsir was the one who took Vita Marissa’s spot with Nova Widianto, when Vita injured her shoulder 6 years ago. After 2 World titles and a controversy after Nova was asked to leave the national team, Natsir was paired with a new player, with a great success.  But on Thursday, in the Bankaltim Indonesia Open GP Gold 2011, it was Vita  and Nova who prevailed over the top seeds.

By Raphael Sachetat.  Photos: Ira Ratnati (live from Samarinda)

Some victories must taste better than others. A few years after being kicked out of the national team because he was not efficient enough, Nova Widianto got his revenge. He and his long time friend and former partner Vita Marissa – now playing independently from PBSI – beat top seeds Tantowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir (photo).  At their second ever meeting – in spite of having practised side by side for years – it was Nova and Vita’s turn to celebrate after they had lost in the Yonex Sunrise India Open earlier this year. This time, on their home soil, the veterans edged out the young guns in three games 21-13, 15-21, 21-17. Nova and Vita will now take on the new pair on the Japanese block – Shoji Sato and Shizuka Matsuo who edged out a young Chinese pair in three games. Japan has two chances in the draw with Ikeda and Shiota also making it to the quarter-finals.

Misbun junior in the quarters

After a great first round victory, Liew Daren had to retire from his match with younger compatriot Misbun Ramdan Misbun Sidek when trailing 21-23 ,10-16. The young Misbun then went on to beat Robin Gonansa and scooped his first quarter-final appearance in a Gold tournament. He is joined by fellow Malaysian Chan Kwong Beng at this stage of the event, but Indonesia has the edge over the quarters with no fewer than 4 shuttlers involved in the last eight – one in each quarter. Taufik Hidayat cruised passed Chong Wei Feng 21-17, 21-16 and will face Wang from China, while Rumbaka, Yunus and Sugiarto are the other three.

The upset of the day in the women’s single came with the defeat of Ratchanok Intanon, 2nd seed, in the battle of the 2009 junior champions.  Ratchanok, who won the world meet that year, lost out to the 2009 Asian titleholder Chen Xiaojia of China 11-21, 17-21.  Meanwhile Pi Hongyan  (photo) once again had to dig deep, this time to beat Japanese youngster Okuhara, coming down from 9-16 in the decider to score 13 out of the last 14 points to beat her opponent 21-19, 18-21, 21-17.

The other upset of the day was in the men’s doubles event, where second seeds Kido/Setiawan (photo) were ousted by a new pairing of a couple of Malaysians who were also top juniors.   Two-time World Junior Champion Ow Yao Han and 2007 Asian Junior Champ Tan Wee Kiong beat the Asian Games gold medallists in straight games 21-17, 21-13. Hendra Setiawan was probably not all focused on his match as he is to get married in less than 10 days.

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Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.