SUDIRMAN CUP Day 4 – I’ve got Indonesia under my skin

Indonesia’s defeat of Denmark 3-2 did not translate into a quarter-final berth, while both Malaysia and Japan go through to meet each other again straight away. By Aaron Wong, Badzine […]

Indonesia’s defeat of Denmark 3-2 did not translate into a quarter-final berth, while both Malaysia and Japan go through to meet each other again straight away.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Gold Coast.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

China received rousing applause for both Lin Dan on Sunday and Chen Long today, with Thailand’s fans turning up as a band to provide live percussion. Scheduling Indonesia and Malaysia in the same session only served to raise the roof on the decibels and double the swashbuckling action. It was also a shame that Indonesia and Denmark weren’t on the Hawkeye court as it made little impact in the Malaysia-Japan tie.

The full house was sent into a frenzy when one game down in the men’s singles, Anthony Ginting (photo) clawed back to win it 13-21, 21-17, 21-14. The hallmark of the amazing resurgence was anticipating what appeared to be sure kills at the net by Viktor Axelsen and possessing the composed racquet skills to make the shuttle head away from the striker without any backswing and within a fraction of a second.

The level of spectator awe equaled Axelsen’s combination of disappointment and disbelief as it happened a couple more times. Ginting knew the amount of speed and height clearance on shuttles he would need to summon, as he already had the experience of overcoming a tall man in the form of Chen Long at the 2016 Australian Superseries.

#2 is greater than #1

In men’s doubles, the world #1 pairing Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo / Marcus Fernaldi Gideon lost to the world #2 Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (photo), 16-21, 24-22, 23-21. A flamboyant choice of shots was a double-edged sword that caused the Indonesians to lead as well as fail to cross the finish line. The Indonesians’ second consecutive defeat to the pair that limited their Superseries winning streak to three may well have been averted, but then they wouldn’t have turned into the super sensation they are of late. That previous encounter was a blessing in disguise.  It stopped the Indonesians becoming too serious and laden with expectation as their instincts have since revitalised.

It takes one to know one

The match gamesmanship subtext was endlessly entertaining to boot. The exuberant young ones (by about at decade) were stoking a pair who once upon a time were no strangers to being pointed out for belligerence. Sukamuljo enjoyed disturbing his opponents and more so once they were flustered. For instance, a shuttle was unceremoniously flicked back to his side and Sukamuljo cheekily beckoned the umpire to notice. Another time he made a beeline with purpose right up close to the net to collect the shuttle from his opponent already standing there after losing a point. Other idiosyncrasies included motioning to hit shuttles which were sailing out wide and frequently waving his hand to apologise for the smallest of incursions whether or not a shuttle had hit his opponent’s torso.

Conversely, when Mogensen’s serve was called a fault he pointed his racquet as to indicate ‘What about the other side?’. Boe would orbit the court after being hit by a shuttle to delay acknowledging Sukamuljo’s zealous waving.

The more valuable player

Indonesia shrewdly rostered not only a scratch pair to deal a pair of Rio Olympic silver medallists but yet another player who could get under an opponent’s skin, the former world #2 Greysia Polii (photo). Although this never before seen Indonesian combination of Polii and Apriyani Rahayu possessed a natural chemistry, the Danes Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl felt out the situation quickly.

In the first game Rahayu was forced deep in court to elicit her loose exploitable defence. Indonesia had resolved this problem just before conceding the first game score and continued their momentum till the end of the second game. Rahayu made a concerted effort to henceforth defend deep if ever she wasn’t able to hit downwards which now made her the most valuable player on court. It was Polii’s easy run of errors in tandem with Rytter Juhl’s forced power play that gave Denmark a five-point buffer from which Indonesia could not ultimately recover, and they lost it 18-21, 21-13, 13-21.

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Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @