Host players continue winning streak on second day
Rapturous shouts of pride and joy rang out around the Istora Indoor Stadium in Senayan, South Jakarta, throughout Wednesday, as several Indonesian shuttlers won their matches and successfully advanced to their second preliminary rounds in the 2012 Djarum Indonesian Open.
As dusk settled over Senayan, a battle of the stars commenced inside the stadium as local comeback kid Sony Dwi Kuncoro faced Danish badminton superstar Peter Hoeg Gade, the world No. 5 in the men’s singles category.
Having lost the first set against Gade, 14 to 21, Sony managed to bounce back and won the next two sets, 21-7 and 21-18, securing his place in the second preliminary round, slated for Thursday.
“In the third set, I tried to be more aggressive. I felt a bit tired, but I realized that if I gave in to my body’s fatigue, that would be the end of me. So I just pushed myself until the end of the match,” said Sony, who defeated India’s Anand Pawar and Frenchman Brice Leverdez in the Open’s qualifying rounds on Tuesday.
This was the fourth match between Sony and Gade, and the third win for Sony after past victories in WBF World Championships in 2003 and in 2007.
Both Gade and Sony have suffered injuries in the past, which forced them to leave the courts for long stretches of time. Peter suffered a knee injury at the 2001 World Championships, while Sony suffered back and wrist injuries around two years ago.
However, on Wednesday, both seemed to have returned to the top of their games.
“Sony has returned. He has recovered from his injury. He played well today,” Gade told a press conference after the match.
He also expressed his plan to retire from badminton later this year, after a successful career that has spanned more than 15 years. “I think I’ll stay home, spend time with my two girls, and I’ll be coaching in some way.”
Indonesia also shone in the women’s doubles category, after Pia Zebadiah Bernadet and Rizki Amelia Pradipta defeated Gade’s compatriots and world No. 5 Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl in two straight sets, 21-17 and 21-18.
“I can’t believe that we actually won,” Rizki said after the match. “At first, we were very daunted by the fact that that we would face such a heavyweight team this early in the tournament.”
“We were so ready to lose,” Pia added immediately. “However, I believe it was our resigned attitude that, in the end, helped us win the match.”
Earlier in the day, Pia and her older brother Markis Kido had secured their place in the next round after defeating Taiwan’s Chen Hung Ling and Cheng Wen Hsing in the mixed doubles category, 21-17 and 21-18.
Elsewhere in the day’s preliminary rounds, local shuttlers Hendra Setiawan and Vita Marissa defeated their compatriots Lukhi Apri Nugroho and Annisa Saufika, also in the mixed doubles category.
The day’s victories were marred however as, halfway through the day, local mainstay player Adriyanti Firdasari was forced to bow out from the tournament after suffering an injury to her right foot in the first set of her match against China’s Wang Yihan in the women’s singles category.
The host country’s team manager Ricky Subagja later confirmed that Firdasari would not be able to participate further in this year’s tournament.
“It’s very unfortunate that she can’t go on, especially as she was facing a top-ranking player with the score still tied [at 7-7] when the game had to be stopped,” he told a press conference.