INDONESIA OPEN 2017 SF – Rough day for ‘giant’ and ‘giant-killer’ alike

H. S. Prannoy’s giant-killing run came to a halt at the hands of qualifier Sakai, while Srikanth Kidambi toppled the world #1 and the women’s singles final will be minus […]

H. S. Prannoy’s giant-killing run came to a halt at the hands of qualifier Sakai, while Srikanth Kidambi toppled the world #1 and the women’s singles final will be minus upset queens Zhang Beiwen and Nitchaon Jindapol.

By Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

After defeating two big seeds in earlier rounds, H. S. Prannoy failed to make the final round of the 2017 , downed by Japanese qualifier, Kazumasa Sakai (pictured), in a fierce rubber game.  As in his previous match, Prannoy started aggressively and dominated the first game with the under pressure Sakai conceding first blood as the Indian took it 21-17.

The tension increased in the second game, and match points earned by Prannoy were successfully thwarted by Sakai with a generous portion of extra points, 26-28.  The last game saw Sakai more calm, and the player who came through qualifying advanced to the final after winning the final game and the match 18-21.

“In the first half, my body felt heavy and difficult to move. The shuttlecock is also difficult to control because the wind is very strong. In the second half, I tried to move faster to earn points,” said the 27-year-old Sakai.

“I have never met my opponent in the final. I know that it will be very hard but I will try my best to be the champion,” Sakai added.

In the final round, Sakai will be challenged another Indian player, Srikanth Kidambi (pictured), who beat world #1, Son Wan Ho in the semi-final. Kidambi secured his pace into the final after winning 21-15, 14-21, 24-22 in 72 minutes.

The second seed Son Wan Ho (pictured bottom) said of his performance, “I’m pretty disappointed with today’s performance. In the third game, I should have won but lost instead. I admit that my stamina and my focus had decreased at the end of the third game.

“Srikanth played very well today. He has an excellent attack and front court play.  Unfortunately, my defence today was not strong enough to withstand such attacks,” he added.

Sung to final, Beiwen to rest

Although Son Wan Ho did not manage to go, his compatriot Sung Ji Hyun (pictured) managed to ensure her passage to the final round. The 5th seed stepped into the final after beating Zhang Beiwen after three very one-sided games.

Sung’s victory owed in part to the injury suffered by Zhang, who after the match went directly to receive treatment on her right leg.

“In the first game, I already felt the cramps in the calf.   It hurt so bad but I forced myself to finish the game. I did not think that my calf muscle would be torn like this. Doctors recommend resting for 4 to 7 days,” said Zhang.

“Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I could finish the match, but it turned out I could steal 1 game even with my calf in such poor condition. If only my feet had been doing well, I might have been qualified for the finals right now but it does not matter, the achievement of this semi-final is good enough for me,” she added.

Sung will next be challenged by Japan’s Sayaka Sato (pictured) for the Indonesia Open title.  Sato’s loss in the final of this tournament way back in 2010 was her only other final to date.

Tomorrow’s meeting will be the 14th meeting between the two and so far, Sung comfortably leads the head-to-head 12-1.  The Korean is also in her 8th career Superseries final, to Sato’s 2nd, but while she has two Korea Open titles to her name, Sung Ji Hyun has never won a Superseries title abroad.

“I’ve met Sato several times. She has strong power and a good court coverage. Tomorrow I should not be careless and must focus from the beginning in order to win,” said Sung.

Finals line-up
WD:  Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee (KOR) [3] vs. Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) [5]
MS:  Kidambi Srikanth (IND) vs. Kazumasa Sakai (JPN)
WS:  Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) [5] vs. Sayaka Sato (JPN)
MD:  Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) [2] vs. Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (CHN) [3]
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1] vs. Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (IND) [6]

Click here for complete semi-final results

Naomi Indartiningrum

About Naomi Indartiningrum

Naomi began as a Badzine Correspondent in 2015, while still a Business Management student living in Jakarta. A badminton enthusiast since 2007, she mostly spends her spare time writing about local badminton events and also maintaining one of largest badminton twitter accounts in Indonesia.