SUDIRMAN CUP 2015 Day 4 – Indonesia confirms, Korea redeems

Korea probably felt redeemed after valiant acts permitted the peninsula’s players to reach the last eight in the tournament that tests the best countries in the world.  They prevailed over […]

Korea probably felt redeemed after valiant acts permitted the peninsula’s players to reach the last eight in the tournament that tests the best countries in the world.  They prevailed over a high-spirited Indian team, which was finally forced to take on the last spot in their group at the Vivo .

By Tarek Hafi. Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)

Before the Koreans could seal the fate of India on Wednesday afternoon, the other former Sudirman Cup winners, Indonesia, came out an inch stronger than a disarmed Danish team that was obviously missing its five aces left at home. Though challenging, Indonesia handled their way out of the group C on top, despite two troublesome ties, against England and Denmark. The Danes, deprived of their most successful doubles players, brought instead to Dongguan a bunch of younger players, who still proved to be ready to bloom on the international stage. It was not enough, however, to overcome a powerhouse like Indonesia, which was all settled in and dreaming of a second success at the Sudirman Cup.

An encounter with Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen inaugurated the tie for the Indonesians, represented by men’s doubles stars Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan. The Danes stepped on court with no fear, leaving the pressure to their opponents.  The Scandinavians had a great start that allowed them to take the lead thanks to some great variation.  The Europeans succeeded in stealing the opening game, and led in the second before the 2013 World Champions eased their path toward victory and clinched the first point 21-23, 21-16, 21-12.

An inspired Bellaetrix Manuputty (photo) followed the current mood and brought a second vital point to her country after a straight-game win over Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt, another player who can count her 2015 victories on one hand. When the men got their turn, Jan O Jorgensen happened to have achieved his health walk for the week, leaving absolutely no chances to the current junior world number one, who is ten years younger than his world class opponent of the day.

Closing on the singles interval, Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari displayed their usual stunning game and clear motivation to defeat their young Danish opponents Maiken Fruergaard and Maria Hesbol, who were nervously dealing with their first steps onto the highest badminton court. It was this victory that sealed Indonesia’s fortune going into the draw for the quarter-finals of this Sudirman Cup.

Nonetheless, the European powerhouse still played with guts the very last match with the newly found talent Sara Thygesen linked her giant teammate Mads Pieler Kolding (photo).  They used the motivation to salvage their pride and took the last point, after a delightful three-game encounter with Debby Susanto and Praveen Jordan that the Danes won 9-21, 21-17, 21-11.

Koreans fight to stay in it

Korea, on the other hand, had much in mind when they approached India in this final group stage day. Stronger on the paper, the Korean players couldn’t look more unsure of their abilities after they’ve had a win stolen from them by surprisingly mighty Malaysia.  The Koreans were obviously more willing to seize the chance in their second outing.

Despite the discernible pressure, the Koreans inaugurated the first match with a bang, leaving their men’s doubles superstars on the bench and getting World Championship bronze medallists Kim Ki Jung and Kim Sa Rang to battle against Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar.  The Indians built up a strong lead in the second game but were unable to capitalize and the match ended with the two Kims earning the first vital point 21-10, 21-19.

The star of this Indian team, Saina Nehwal (photo), didn’t disappoint and brought a first point to her teammates with a victory over Bae Yeon Ju, who despite the loss, fought hard and surrendered only after a three-game battle.  In contrast, Bae’s team-mate Son Wan Ho managed to overcome Kashyap Parupalli after an hour-long fight, avenging his recent Singapore Open defeat, proving once again, the world number five could become a very dangerous threat to any team involved in Dongguan.

The Koreans were able to structure their team match well, with the recently paired Jang Ye Na and Jung Kyung Eun (photo) assailing the last attack over Gutta Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa, allowing the whole team to ease the heavy burden from their shoulders and to keep dreaming of another Sudirman Cup final.

Having already won the tie, Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na still showed professionalism and fought for a fourth point over Manu Attri and Sikki Reddy N. to close the Level 1 group stages.

Elsewhere, there was some excitement as well. Michelle Li (photo) took one hour and 19 minutes to beat the reigning World Champion Carolina Marin, saving 5 match points – any one of which would have clinched the tie for the Spanish team – before a 24-22 win in the decider. Unexpectedly, the Netherlands beat Singapore and came on top of their group, as did Hong Kong after their easy win over the USA.  The Canadians finished at the bottom of Level 2 Group A but only after losing each of their three ties by a single match.

The draw that was done immediately after tonight’s matches set the quarter-finals for the eight top-tier teams: Indonesia is now set to meet Chinese Taipei, Korea will get the chance to avenge their tough defeat over Malaysia, this time for a spot in the last four.

Click here for complete Wednesday results

The complete draw for the Level 1 quarter-finals is shown below…

About Tarek Hafi