Indonesia was left with no title from the Indonesia Open, with its sole representative, six-time champion Taufik Hidayat, well beaten by defending champion Lee Chong Wei in the final on Sunday.
Indonesians also failed to win a title last year.
World number five Taufik surrendered to Malaysia’s Lee, the world number one, 19-21, 8-21, dashing his hopes of winning the men’s single title for an unprecedented seven times.
Taufik has not beaten Lee in their last five matches, and has only won five times in all 14 head-to-head meetings. The last time they faced each other was at the Macau Grand Prix Gold in Aug. 22, 2009 when Lee won 21-18, 22-20.
As champion, Lee took home the US$18,750 top prize.
Taufik was diplomatic about his loss.
“This is natural in sports. There is a cycle that you must go through and you are not always on top. Once, Lee Chong Wei struggled to beat me, but now I’m struggling against him.
“I will gradually leave badminton,” Taufik said is response to a comment that his time was over.
“Chong Wei is in his good form, but someday people will ask questions when he is no longer winning.”
Taufik said he has done his best to win the game but that stamina was a big problem for him.
“I was leading for a while in the first set but he was able to catch up and won the match. In the second set, my stamina just dropped,” the 29-year-old said.
Coach Mulyo Handoyo said Taufik should have taken the first set if not for his unforced errors.
Indonesia was partly represented in the mixed-doubles division, which saw Hendra Setiawan and Anastasia Russkikh of Russia play in the final, but they were eventually beaten in straight sets by Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba of Poland 21-18, 21-20.
Teaming up for just the second time and with little practice, the Russian-Indonesian pair seemed satisfied with their performance.
“When we started we were not even thinking of being in the final, it’s not that we didn’t believe in it, but we’ve come so far from the qualification to the final,” Russkikh said after the match.
“But being here today is absolutely great, we have played so many different players from Indonesia, Chinese Taipei, Korea and Poland so it’s absolutely great,” she added.
Last year’s women’s champion Saina Nehwal of India was able to defend her title by defeating Sayata Sato of Japan 21-19, 13-21, 21-11.
The Indian, who moved up in world ranking from six to three after consecutive tournament wins at the India Grand Prix Gold, the Singapore Open Super Series and Indonesia Open in the space of three weeks, said the tournament was “mental torture”.
“This week was really mental torture for me. Defending the title was really good, [I’m] very happy. Playing three and winning three was really tough for me.
“Becoming the defending champion and top seed gave me much pressure,” Nehwal said adding that of the three tournaments, the Djarum Indonesian Open was the most difficult.