SINGAPORE OPEN 2013 Finals – Title hat-trick for Indonesia

Indonesia bagged three titles in the 2013 edition of Li-Ning Singapore Open, including a first ever Superseries gold for Tommy Sugiarto and a fifth Singapore crown for Lilyana Natsir.  The […]

Indonesia bagged three titles in the 2013 edition of Li-Ning , including a first ever gold for Tommy Sugiarto and a fifth Singapore crown for Lilyana Natsir.  The Chinese ladies nicked the other two titles.

By Serla Rusli and Lee Suet Yan, Badzine Correspondents live from Singapore Indoor Stadium. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The opening match of the day went without a doubt to the Indonesian duo Tontowi Ahmad / Lilyana Natsir (pictured) outshone their Korean opponents Yoo Yeon Song / Eom Hye Won. They left the Koreans unable to answer to their aggressive attacks and won convincingly 21-12, 21-12.

“I feel really happy with the match performance today. We controlled the game right from the start and did not let the Koreans develop their game at all,” shared Lilyana about the final match.

“It feels really good to win the tournament today, especially since we lost in the Indonesia Open semi-finals in Jakarta. However, we came in to the game, knowing that we can beat them and just be confident that we can do it.”

This victory in Singapore is Tontowi / Lilyana’s second as a pair, but this is also Lilyana’s fifth title for the tournament as she was mixed doubles champions with her previous partner Nova Widianto in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

“I feel that I have chemistry with this place, so I really like playing here. I hope to come back again next year and win more titles.”

Next up was Tommy Sugiarto (pictured), who pulled a wonderful stunt against the Thai defending champion Boonsak Ponsana to win his first ever Super Series title.  Despite losing narrowly in the first game, he earned his heartfelt victory by turning the match to his advantage and eventually secured the title 20-22, 21-5, 21-17.

“I felt really tired throughout the match, more tired than yesterday. However, I will be back again next year as I really appreciate the support from the crowd here,” thanked Boonsak Ponsana (pictured left with the new champion).

“Even though I lost in the first game, I was confident that I had better stamina than him,” revealed Tommy.  “Hence I just focused on playing the second game with the level that I have. I knew Boonsak was already a bit tired so I tried setting the pace of the game to tire him out. Also, I just kept in my mind that I have the ability to beat Boonsak and I just remembered that throughout my match.

“It feels really great winning this today for me as this is my first ever major international title. It definitely gives me confidence, especially for my next big target, the World Championships in August.”

As the son of badminton legend Icuk Sugiarto, Tommy is definitely starting to make his mark in the sport.

“It used to give me pressure, having a father who is a badminton legend. However, now I try to take it positively and use that to motivate me to perform even better. I certainly hope to be able to be the next Taufik Hidayat for Indonesia but I still have a long way to go before that.”

To end the night and to the Indonesian supporters’ delight, the Indonesian finalists Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan were also able to close the match in their favour and win their back-to-back Superseries titles against world #1 pair and tournament favourites Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae (pictured).

The Indonesians displayed great tactics and their attacks, coupled with the solid defence, made them unstoppable. In the end, the Koreans had to surrender and miss the chance yet again to break the men’s doubles title drought for Korea in Singapore.

“It feels a little different playing here in Singapore than in Indonesia last week, especially since the crowd support feels really different,” said Mohammad Ahsan (pictured below with Hendra Setiawan).  “However, we were already prepared to go all the way in this match since the Koreans are a very strong pair and I’m really grateful that we won in the end.”

“It feels really special winning two Superseries titles in a row. It certainly has given us a confidence boost to play in the World Championships and our target is to be World Champions in August,” replied Hendra confidently.

Turn around of the Olympic final

In the women’s singles final between Wang Yihan and Li Xuerui (pictured below), Wang was at her best after months of patchy form. In six meetings in 2012, Wang beat Li only once, at the Malaysia Open. However, in 2013, we have seen a ‘brand new’ Wang appear on the badminton court. Wang Yihan has won each of their meetings in 2013, including Sunday’s final of the Singapore Open, where she defeated Li relatively easily 21-18, 21-12.

Wang’s superb defence and counterattack contributed the winning points. Their rivalry is getting more intense because they know each other’s game very well. Looking at the way Wang is play in 2013, winning her first Singapore Open final, she definitely looks ready to defend her World Championship title this year.

Li, who looked a bit tired, told the media: “I am not in good form today. I feel a little bit tired from the long tournaments in South East Asia.

“I have to agree that my opponent played very well today.  She was very impressive in the accurate execution of her shots and I couldn’t find any idea to tackle it.  I tried my best in the final today, thus I have no disappointment.”

Meanwhile Wang responded with a smile: “I enjoyed the match and felt very satisfied with my performance as I was able to execute numerous shots accurately and precisely without giving any chance for my opponent to return. I really think that luck was on my side today. We have produced a high quality match today and I hope the spectators would enjoy our match today.

“I feel so energetic today and even now, I am not feeling tired at all despite having to play three games yesterday.”

Failure in the third attempt

In their third attempt at a title in a Superseries final, world #2 Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi found China’s great wall in women’s doubles still too difficult to break through. The Olympic champions Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei secured the second medal for China when they defeated the Japanese pair 21-19, 21-16.

The first game was intense before Tian/Zhao walked away with another 2 points after the last tie at 19-all. For Matsutomo/Takahashi, it was a case of nerves as they made a lot of unforced errors in the second game, letting the more experienced Tian/Zhao take the match more convincingly than their narrow 3-game victory in the Indonesia Open last week.

“If we had won the first game, I believe we still would have had a chance in the third game. I am quite disappointed today,” said Misaki Matsutomo (pictured).  “The gap was just so narrow in the first game, but we missed converting it in the end. Then in the second game, we made a lot of unforced errors that gave away many free points to our opponents, especially towards the end of the game.

“Our upcoming goal is the World Championships this year. We hope we can win a medal in the World Championships. From now, we have to train harder and try to improve on some of our weaker aspects in order to achieve our goal.”

Singapore Open final results
XD: Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA) [3] beat Yoo Yeon Seong / Eom Hye Won (KOR)  21-12, 21-12
WS: Wang Yihan (CHN) [4] beat Li Xuerui (CHN) [1]  21-18, 21-12
MS: Tommy Sugiarto (INA) beat Boonsak Ponsana (THA) [5]  20-22, 21-5, 21-17
WD: Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [5] beat Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [2]  21-19, 21-16
MD: Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan (INA) beat Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae (KOR) [1]  21-15, 21-18

Click here for complete, detailed results

About Serla Rusli