INDONESIA OPEN 2012 Preview – First round impressions

Even with Lin Dan deciding to give this tournament a miss and Lee Chong Wei still recovering from the ankle injury that he sustained at last week’s Thomas Cup, the […]

Even with Lin Dan deciding to give this tournament a miss and Lee Chong Wei still recovering from the ankle injury that he sustained at last week’s Thomas Cup, the 2012 Djarum Premier still promises an array of action-packed matches right from the very first round.

By Serla Rusli, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

As the London Olympics 2012 is inching closer, every major tournament will become an avenue for shuttlers to test out each other’s strength.  As the last Superseries Premier tournament before the Olympics, the Djarum Indonesia Open welcomes the best stars in badminton for a sneak of how the battle in London may well turn out.

Men’s singles

Second seeded Chen Jin will face a tricky first round in the tournament against Jan O Jorgensen.  The Dane has proven to be dangerous for many top players when he’s at his best.  The world #4 Chinese would therefore need to be extra cautious not to repeat his recent defeat against Jan in Korea Open earlier this year.

Taufik Hidayat, unseeded this year, is back to have his sixth shot in claiming the long awaited seventh title at Gelora Bung Karno.  He is the holder of 6 Indonesia Open titles, the last being in 2006.  His main adversary, waiting for him as early as the second round, would be Danish top shuttler and third seed Peter Gade – the very same player who ended his seventh heaven Indonesia Open dream last year.

Of course, the future is not so bright for Taufik or Peter Gade after their encounter as China’s Chen Jin and Du Pengyu are both packed in the same half of the draw.  After his performances in Wuhan, top seed Chen Long remains the overwhelming favourite and will get his first test against Lee Hyun Il in the quarter-finals, unless Kevin Cordon can pull off a miracle to match his upset of Chen at last year’s Worlds.

Women’s singles

China has sent in a troupe of their best women’s singles players to Jakarta – the top 4 seeds of this Super Series Premier tournament are dominated by the Chinese.  However, as history has proven so many times, the Chinese wall is far from impenetrable.  Wang Xin, for instance, is facing a tricky first round against last year’s World Championship silver medallist Cheng Shao Chieh from Chinese Taipei.  Cheng has always been dangerous and formidable ever since her World Championships appearance in 2005 when she beat the odds to reach the semi-finals.

The encounters between Thai rising star Ratchanok Intanon and Korean Sung Ji Hyun have lately been very close affairs.  In the first round, the two will repeat their quarter-final battle in Swiss Open 2012, where Intanon reigned in 21-14, 14-21, 22-20.  The winner is to face either Korean Bae Youn Joo or China’s Jiang Yanjiao, making it bad news for Korean fans.

Germany’s Juliane Schenk and Saina Nehwal of India should both be back in action after resting while most stars we busy with the Uber Cup.

Men’s doubles

The men’s doubles draw also assures spectators of exciting rematches from recent tournaments right from the start.

First seed and defending champions Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng will face Maneepong Jongjit / Bodin Issara in their opening match.  The Chinese duo’s first and only encounter with the Thais was during the Korea Open in January this year.  It was a close shave for the eventual champions that week as the unseeded Thais stretched them to a 15-21, 21-16, 22-20 scoreline.

Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan are not spared a tricky first round as they face Fang Chieh Min / Lee Sheng Mu from Chinese Taipei – a duo that has always caused trouble to the Indonesians and beat them at the very same place two years ago en route to their own title here.  This match will also a repeat between the Australian Open GP Gold finalists, where the Indonesians were finally crowned the winners, ending a title drought of more than a year.

Meanwhile, Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong will be challenged by hosts Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra.  As the India Open quarter-finals match between the two foretold, the world #16 Indonesians are not a pair to be taken lightly by the sixth seeded Malaysians.

Women’s doubles

Women’s doubles have always traditionally been a Chinese dominated event, with Japan and Korea as their main contenders.  However, this time round, other nations such as India and Indonesia may rise to the occasion to challenge the Chinese badminton powerhouses’ dominance.

Jwala Gutta / Ashwini Ponnappa are set to face second seeds Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei in the first round.  The Indians have never been ones to bow down easily to the Chinese and have managed respectable scorelines despite the fact that the Chinese have maintained a clean record of 4-0 against them.

The host country’s ladies Vita Marissa / Nadya Melati are currently holding 1-0 head-to-head advantage over their first round opponents Tang Jinhua / Xia Huan from China, having won their maiden showdown at Bankaltim Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold 2011.  Meanwhile, Anneke Feinya Agustin / Nitya Krishinda Maheswari will have a chance to avenge their narrow 21-16, 22-24, 12-21 defeat at Badminton Asia Championships in April this year against Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin in their first round face-off.

Mixed doubles

Mixed doubles draw seems to be creating many chances for upsets to the seeded players.

Favourites and top seeds Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei have yet another tough draw, coming up against Chris Adcock / Imogen Bankier in the inaugural round of 32 in the .  The Chinese crashed in the first round of both All England and Korea Open earlier this year before the English/Scottish duo.

Another seeded pair that could potentially exit early from the tournament is Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying as they face Muhammad Rijal / Debby Susanto from Indonesia.  Rijal / Susanto has never failed to create a surprise by beating the higher ranked Malaysians in their two encounters in German Open Grand Prix Gold this year and last year’s Macau Open.

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About Serla Rusli