INDONESIA MASTERS 2018 Finals – Ginting wins first at home

Anthony Ginting won his first title on home soil, winning the men’s singles crown at the 2018 Indonesia Masters. By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live) It was just last September […]

Anthony Ginting won his first title on home soil, winning the men’s singles crown at the 2018 .

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

It was just last September that Anthony Ginting (pictured) won his first international title.  Now today, he made the best of his next opportunity on home soil and picked up the Indonesia Masters title, beating Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai in straight games.

For Sakai – whose biggest career title is the Russia Open Grand Prix, which he won back in 2012 – it was his second straight appearance in a major final in Jakarta.  He was runner-up in last year’s Indonesia Open Premier and lost Srikanth Kidambi in the first of the Indian’s four titles in 2017.

The Indonesia Masters ascended this year to the new level, which puts it – with 9200 ranking points for the winner and US$350,000 prize money – on a par with the now-defunct Superseries.  The last Indonesian to win a Superseries title at home in men’s singles was Simon Santoso, who took the Indonesia Open back in 2012.  This one should put Ginting into the world’s top ten for the first time in his career.

Opening proceedings on Sunday at the Istora Senayan was the women’s singles and what turned out to be the shortest match of the day.  India’s Saina Nehwal, who has won Indonesia’s premier event three times in her career, was looking for her first title in a year and her first title at this level since the 2016 Australian Open.

Saina beat her world #3 compatriot Pusarla Venkata Sindhu and then the in-form Ratchanok Intanon, who had beaten world #1 Tai Tzu Ying last weekend to claim the Malaysia Masters title.  Saina played in the Istora Senayan hall for the first time on a Sunday since she was runner-up at the Worlds here in 2015.

However, it was not to be for Saina, herself a former world #1.  Tai Tzu Ying (pictured) closed out their match in less than half an hour and claimed her first Indonesia Masters title, adding that to the Indonesia Open crown she earned in 2016.

Two doubles leave the archipelago

Indonesian fans had high hopes for all three doubles finals.  First, the Olympic and World Champions Tontowi Ahmad and appeared in the mixed final as the top seeds.

In their first tournament of 2018, they again fell victim to world #1 Zheng Siwei.  He and his former partner Chen Qingchen had eliminated the Indonesians from the Superseries Finals in December and today, he and new partner Huang Yaqiong (pictured) dominated the home favourites again, taking their 4th title in 5 consecutive tournaments – and 5 finals – since they formed their partnership in November.

Next up, Ahmad/Natsir’s fellow French Open champions Greysia Polii / Apriyani Rahayu were riding high after beating Korea’s Lee/Shin in Saturday’s semi-final.  They couldn’t find the same winning formula against Olympic gold medallists Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (pictured bottom), though, and the Japanese pair won it in two.

4th straight, 6th straight for Gideon/Sukamuljo

If Ginting’s win in the men’s singles final was satisfying for the local fans, they had to wait for the fifth final of the day for the real thrills.  World #1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (pictured) were looking for a 4th straight tournament victory after taking the China and Hong Kong Opens late last year, before finishing with gold at the Superseries Finals.

In their first appearance of 2018, they faced off against China’s Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen, a pair they had beaten all 5 times they had played each other in 2017.  However, the first game belonged to the twin Chinese towers as they rebounded from an early deficit to take it 21-11.

The Indonesian pair equalized with a one-sided second game that took longer than it should have to finish.  With the home pair leading 18-8, Li Junhui ticked the shuttle on its way out on his forehand sideline but the umpire failed to call a fault.

Gideon and Sukamuljo refused to accept that they had been denied the point, repeatedly pointing to the large television screen in the hall which clearly showed the entire crowd that an error had been committed.  Eventually the tournament referee arrived on court and presumably reminded the players that badminton has no procedure for allowing television evidence to overrule umpire decisions and play finally resumed, with the Indonsians quickly taking the game as expected.

The decider provided both thrilling rallies and a close scoreline.  The Indonesians were caught at 13-all but they never conceded the lead to the Chinese and they finally closed it out 21-16.

Final results
WS:  Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) [1] beat Saina Nehwal (IND)  21-9, 21-13
MS:  Anthony Ginting (INA) beat Kazumasa Sakai (JPN)  21-13, 21-12
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) [6] beat Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA) [1]  21-14, 21-11
WD:  Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [2] beat Greysia Polii / Apriyani Rahayu (INA) [8]  21-17, 21-12
MD:  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) [1] beat Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (CHN) [2]  11-21, 21-10, 21-16

Click here for complete 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 @