Wednesday, 22 May 2024

News | BWF World Tour

It is remarkable to witness the sheer dominance of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in the badminton world. In just 27 minutes, they emerged as victorious against their seasoned competitors and compatriots Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in a fiercely contested semi-final match at the Yonex-Sunrise Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta India Open 2018. With their blinding speed and quick reflexes, Gideon and Sukamuljo outclassed the two-time World champions with a score of 21-11 21-16.

Ahsan, despite the defeat, couldn’t help but admire the young duo’s skills, stating, “They’re the best pair we’ve ever faced. They’re simply too quick. They were getting the attack at the beginning, not allowing us any rhythm… there’s a lot for us to do to catch up.”

This victory adds to Gideon and Sukamuljo’s impressive streak, which began in March of last year. During this period, they have clinched eight major titles and are now just one win away from their ninth.

Reflecting on their achievement, Sukamuljo humbly remarked, “It wasn’t easy. Their control is very good, and it’s hard to guess where the shuttle is going.”

The Indonesians will now face Denmark’s Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in the final, who secured their spot by defeating China’s Han Chengkai and Zhou Haodong with a score of 21-19 21-14.

Polii/Rahayu Win Marathon

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Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu fought their way to the Women’s Doubles final after a grueling 81-minute battle against Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl. The match was characterized by relentless smashing by both sides, with Polii and Rahayu persistently attacking the well-organized Danish defense. The intense competition remained neck and neck until 15 in the third game, where a few errors on the Danish side allowed Polii and Rahayu to claim victory with a score of 21-14 19-21 21-18.

Pedersen expressed her satisfaction despite the loss, stating, “It was a great match to be in. The Indonesians played really good today, we may have felt we were 5 percent lower than in Malaysia. It’s been a long trip for us, but we’re proud that we gave all we could today. That’s why we came close. It was just the small things that made the difference.”

The Indonesians will now face Thailand’s Rawinda Prajongjai and Jongkolphan Kititharakul, who emerged as winners over China’s Du Yue and Li Yinhui with a score of 21-19 21-17.

Zulkarnain Falls Short

Malaysia’s Iskandar Zulkarnain, who impressively reached the semi-finals after starting from the qualifying rounds, saw his inspiring run come to an end in a long battle against China’s Shi Yuqi. The third game was fiercely contested, with both players giving their all. Zulkarnain’s exceptional defensive skills had propelled him to victory in previous rounds against Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma. Although he initially held a 16-12 lead in the third game, a tumble on the floor momentarily affected him, resulting in a loss of points. Despite a rally of 42 shots towards the end, Zulkarnain ultimately succumbed to Shi’s second match point.

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Shi will now face Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen in the final, who secured his spot with a convincing performance against China’s Qiao Bin, resulting in a score of 23-21 21-16. Despite Qiao taking the lead in both games, Chou’s resilience under pressure, particularly his exceptional defensive skills, proved to be the deciding factor.

Chou expressed his excitement, saying, “I was on the court for a long time, but I still had fun. I know how to play him; it was about working hard all through the match. I was confident, and I felt I could last longer than before. I felt I could play any shot because he pushed every shot within range, so I pushed back. In the second game, he lost his focus. Last year, I was in the final here; I’ve been training hard and tried many new things during practice. I have the opportunity this time.”

Zhang in Pusarla’s Way

USA’s Beiwen Zhang overcame an injury niggle in her right foot to secure a hard-fought victory over Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi. After losing the first game, Zhang showcased her tenacious retrieving skills in the following games. Although Cheung put up a strong fight, saving three match points, Zhang emerged victorious with a score of 14-21 21-12 21-19.

In the last match of the day, defending champion Pusarla V Sindhu ensured India’s continued presence in the tournament by delivering an impressive performance against Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, resulting in a score of 21-13 21-15.

Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy, the other Indian competitors, were outplayed by Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen. Christiansen and Pedersen will now face Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti in the Mixed Doubles final.

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