WORLDS 2013 Finals – 2 for Indonesia in photo finishes

Lilyana Natsir and Hendra Setiawan brought new partners from Indonesia to the 2013 Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships to repeat their tandem gold performances from 2007. By Don […]

Lilyana Natsir and Hendra Setiawan brought new partners from Indonesia to the 2013 Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships to repeat their tandem gold performances from 2007.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Guangzhou.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

In 2007, Hendra Setiawan and Lilyana Natsir fulfilled their nation’s hopes at the BWF World Badminton Championships after a disastrous showing the previous year.  Today, a year after Indonesia was denied Olympic badminton gold for the first time ever, Hendra and Lilyana, this time each with younger partners, again made good to see their country bounce back with the same two titles.

Despite having won their second consecutive All England title this past spring, Tontowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir were the underdogs coming into the mixed doubles final.  Not only were their opponents, Xu Chen / Ma Jin, the world #1 pair but they had beaten the Indonesians at both the Superseries Finals and at the Olympic Games in the past year.

One might not have guess that from the first game, however, as the Indonesians had Xu/Ma on the run.  The second belonged to the Chinese, however, and then things really heated up in the decider.  The top seeds could taste the title at 20-18 but it was the Indonesians who came alive and took the last 4 to win the championship.

“We won the match because of our mental strength in the game, and also with a little luck, of course,” said Tontowi Ahmad.  “When we were behind at 18-20, we just sped up and forced the tie and finally got it.”

“Xu Chen and Ma Jin had more pressure, as they were playing on home court,” added Lilyana Natsir.  “When we levelled the score to 20-all, we found our opponents’ mental state to be a little bit shaky, so we got it.

“With the win from Ratchanok Intanon, it means the other countries are already catching up with China.  We can beat Chinese players, it’s no question about it.  It just depends on how we prepare. Basically, I mean the quality of other countries has already caught up with China.

Ahmad and Ahsan both awesome

Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan got their chance to claw back from 18-20 a little earlier and with a lot less tension.  After dominating the first game of their men’s doubles final against Denmark’s Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen, the Indonesians lost the lead they had deep into the second game but facing game point at 18-20, they suddenly came together and, after tying it up the took their second match point to secure a first World Championship title for Ahsan and second for Setiawan.

“When we were down 18-20, I was thinking we’d have to play a third game,” said Mohammad Ahsan, “so I thought why not just go for it.”

In general, the Indonesians did not betray a hint of nervousness in their final but Ahsan denied that there was any particular advantage they had over Boe/Mogensen, whom so many pairs find difficult to play against.

“Basically, when you’re in the top 10, everyone can beat each other,” said Ahsan.  “Even pairs in the top 20 can beat you.  So you just have to concentrate on winning each point.

“When I started playing with Hendra, I thought we could win a World Championship at some point down the road, but I never thought we would be able to win one within a year.”

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2013 Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships mixed doubles silver medallists Xu Chen / Ma Jin (CHN, left) and gold medallists Lilyana Natsir / Tontowi Ahmad (INA)

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @