KOREA OPEN 2017 SF – Perfect day for Indonesia!

Indonesian shuttlers went 4 for 4 in the semi-finals of the Korea Open, as Anthony Ginting beat world #1 Son Wan Ho to reach his first international final. By Don […]

Indonesian shuttlers went 4 for 4 in the semi-finals of the , as Anthony Ginting beat world #1 Son Wan Ho to reach his first international final.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Seoul.  Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Anthony Ginting outdid himself on semi-finals day at the Korea Open.  Any shuttler would be pleased with beating a world #1 or reaching a career first international final.  But for Ginting, beating the world #1 meant beating Son Wan Ho on home court.  What’s more, his first international final turned out to be no less than a .

Son Wan Ho, runner-up last year at this event and in the hunt for his first home title, got off to a promising start, pulling away after the interval to win the first game.  Ginting led throughout the second, successfully fending off Son’s comeback attempts.

Son had already weathered a couple of three-game matches this week and didn’t look so worried.  However, as the deciding game progressed, it was clear he just didn’t have wheat he needed to close the gap.

“Son Wan Ho does have very good defense but I still tried to get points by attacking him because Son’s attack is good as well,” said Ginting of his strategy.  “I didn’t want my opponent to attack me first.

“I didn’t want to think to much about the score.  I just wanted to focus on how to get each point on its own but when I was leading I didn’t want to relax.  I kept pushing myself to continue and finish the match.”

Son Wan Ho, meanwhile, pointed out that he was badly in need of rest after a string of domestic events that have stretched from the World Championships, some even involving alternative scoring systems.  He said that in the semi-final, he struggled with Ginting outplaying him in the forecourt.

Rest is something that will have to wait for the world #1.  In a few days, he is scheduled to begin playing at the Japan Open and before making the trip to Denmark for his compulsory appearance at the Superseries Premier event there, his presence will be expected at the biggest domestic sporting event of the year, Korea’s National Sports Festival.

A first, a first, and a second

Asked about the prospect of playing the final against compatriot Jonatan Christie, who was at that time still on court against Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei, Ginting said, “I hope so.  The last time we played was at the Malaysia Superseries, though, and I lost.”

In the end, it was Christie who beat 7th-seeded Wang in two games.  The two twenty-year-olds reached their respective first Superseries semi-finals just a few months apart – Ginting in November 2015 and Christie in April of the following year – and are now each playing in their first such final.  But unlike Christie, who won his first International Challenge title at age 15 and reached his first Grand Prix Gold final this past June, Ginting is into a final for the first time in an international tournament.

Ginting said that finally making it to his first final had special significance: “It does because most of the time, I get to the semi-final and then lose.  This has happened to me 5 or 6 times already.  It hasn’t exactly been frustrating but it has meant a lot of disappointment.

“Actually, it’s not easy for us to reach a final but I think this is a big chance to win a title because so many of the other top players, like Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan, and Chen Long, were not here.”

The only other time that a Superseries tournament has featured an all-Indonesian final was at the 2008 Indonesia Open.  On that occasion, Sony Dwi Kuncoro beat Simon Santoso to win his own first Superseries title.

Indonesia goes 4 for 4

In the opening match of the afternoon on Court 2, Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto won, as expected, over surprise semi-finalists Seidel/Efler of Germany.  They thus booked a spot in their second straight Superseries final but they will be looking for their first Superseries title since winning the All England in 2016.

Immediately after Christie, the exuberant Indonesian contingent in the hall were thrilled by the three-game victory but former world #1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo over Japan’s Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda.

“We already know this pair very well because we’ve played this pair many times,” said Gideon after the match, “so we already know how we must play.  I think we focussed better and that’s why we were able to win.”

“The wind was very, very strong on Court 2.  Court 1 was much better,” said Sukamuljo of the court conditions.

“I think in the second game, we wanted to play like we did in the first but the wind made the conditions so different,” explained Gideon.  “We were lifting a little bit but we put many shuttles out.  That’s why we were confused in the second game.  The wind was so strong on Court 2 that I could feel it blowing on my face.

“We do get confidence from beating the World Champions on Friday but we have played them many times before, too.  We want to be world #1 again but we don’t want to think too far.  We just want to keep playing and do our best.”

In the final, as it turns out, the Indonesians will be facing the current world #1 pair and two-time champions here.  Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen finally booked a spot in their fifth Korea Open final by coming back from a game down to beat Japan’s Hoki/Kobayashi in a repeat of last year’s U.S. Open final.

The Danes got the better of the top Indonesian pair this past spring both at the Singapore Open and at the Sudirman Cup but the last time they faced off in a final was at last year’s China Open, when Gideon and Sukamuljo scored their only victory to date over the Danish veterans.

Click here for complete semi-final results

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 @ badzine.net