INDONESIA OPEN 2018 Day 1 – Another early exit for Chen Long

Luck does not seem to have taken Chen Long’s side yet.  After losing in the first round of the Malaysia Open last week, he had another early exit from the […]

Luck does not seem to have taken Chen Long’s side yet.  After losing in the first round of the Malaysia Open last week, he had another early exit from the , this time going down to France’s Brice Leverdez.

Story: Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta
Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Chen Long failed to move into the second round after suffering his first ever loss to Brice Leverdez, after a rubber game that saw the Frenchman come away with the 17-21, 22-20, 21-19 victory.  The world #5 actually had a good chance of winning because he was leading 19-14 at the end of the third game.  Unfortunately for the Olympic gold medallist, he lost his focus and continually made unforced errors until he had lost it 21-19.

“Actually I really wanted to finish the match in the second game, but my opponent was playing better than in the previous game.  This made me unable to take a chance.  I should have changed my strategy in the third game but I wasn’t able to,” said Chen.

For Leverdez, this victory is very meaningful considering in the previous 5 meetings, he had never won even a single game against Chen Long.

“This is an improvement in my career,” said Leverdez.  “This victory is very meaningful.  After losing five times, I finally found the right pattern to beat Chen Long.  He is a strong player, so it takes a consistent game pattern to defeat him.”

Despite his victory, Brice admits there is still much he has to improve for the upcoming match:  “I need to be able to play more professionally, with a stronger mentality,” he said.

Chance to defend the title also for the last one

Indonesia’s top mixed doubles pair, Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir managed to keep a chance to defend the title achieved last year.  Ahmad/Natsir advanced to the second round of Indonesia Open  2018 after defeating Malaysians Tan Kiang Meng / Lai Pei Jing in straight games.

Playing at home allows the Olympic gold medallists to perform very confidently and they didn’t have any significant trouble in this match.  Moreover, this senior pair managed to show fast and attacking strategy from the beginning.  This strategy succeeded and the Malaysian pair couldn’t play their own strategy well.

“Today, since the start of the game, We look pretty good,” said Liliyana Natsir after the win.  “The court conditions are also good for us so I would like to say that whatever happens, we can still enjoy our game.”

“We already get our focus well on the first game.  We also following the advice and strategy from our coach.  Also, we stay with our strategy until the end and fortunately we managed to win,” Tontowi added.

With these results, Natsir is determined to show her best performance in the upcoming matches considering this year Indonesia Open could be the last for her.

One other Indonesian pair, Ricky Karanda Suwardi / Debby Susanto (pictured above) also managed to follow their compatriots into the second round.  Suwardi and Susanto had to struggle to advance but came back to defeat Chinese youngsters He Jiting and Du Yue 17-21, 21-13, 24-22.

Tse/Tang exit, Taerattanachai gains confidence

Tse Ying Suet’s tears couldn’t stop falling after tonight’s match ends.  Tse and her partner, Tang Chun Man had been poised to make a move on the #1 spot in the mixed doubles world rankings last week but after failing to advance to the second round of the Indonesia Open they could fall as low as #5 by next week.  They were defeated in Jakarta by the resurgent Thais Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (pictured).

A great performance shown by the Hong Kong pair wasn’t enough to stop the resistance of Taerattanachai, who is still on her way back up after returning from an injury layoff.  Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet (pictured) were repeatedly overwhelmed while receiving the attack from the Thai pair despite a win in the second game.

“This performance is very far below my expectations,” said Tang.  “Today my partner and I were not able to show our best game.  For the next, we  need to improve the physical and mental conditions so that the next tournament could be better.”

Taerattanachai said, “In the first game, we were able to control our strategy better than in the second game.  During the second, we could not control the shuttlecock because of the strong wind.  Basically, our focus for this match was to stop their attack and just control our performance to minimize unforced errors.”

Taerattanachai was very pleased with this victory after coming back from injuries.  She admitted that this victory really give her more confidence for the upcoming matches.

“I just came back from my injury several weeks ago.  I still need to maintain my condition and also train myself to be back to my peak performance.  Of course with this victory, I feel more confident on the court because they’re one of the tough opponents and we managed to beat them,” she added.

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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.