Sibling pair serious in pursuing mixed doubles career
While facing the Indonesian No. 1 pair Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir, the brother-sister performance of compatriots Markis Kido-Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth stole some of the fire by providing a highly entertaining show, despite losing in the end.
The sibling pair, who first teamed up at the 2012 Korea Open in January, put up a solid fight against the All England champs by nailing the second game 21-15 following their 15-21 loss in the first game.
In the decisive rubber game, Pia managed to grab the first point as Tontowi could not handle her smash.
The world mixed doubles No. 3 Tontowi-Liliyana, however, immediately delivered an equalizer before taking control of the rest of the game.
Persistent Pia tried to tag along when the situation dropped 3-6 for Tontowi-Liliyana, but she fell down and rolled over to find that she had failed in answering Tontowi’s return.
Amid full support from the crowd, Tontowi-Liliyana accelerated their game, defeating their former national training camp mates with a definitive 21-11 victory.
“Tontowi and Liliyana are surely way above us. I give my true respect to Liliyana, especially because her skills are acknowledged across the world,” 23-year-old Pia told reporters after the Friday match.
Despite the defeat, Pia, who in 2011 reached world No. 9 in mixed doubles with Frans Kurniawan, said that her achievement with older brother Markis in the 2012 Indonesia Open was the best in their super series event career as they reached quarterfinals.
“This is our third time playing as a mixed pair and it was quite good to reach the quarterfinals and face Tontowi-Liliyana,” she said, lamenting that in their overall three-time pairing career, they had yet to win a championship.
Looking toward the future, Markis said that he would maintain his partnership with his sister.
“We are siblings and that makes it easier to communicate. I personally need to play more, instead of just in men’s doubles [with Hendra Setiawan],” said Markis. Markis and Hendra were gold medalists at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Markis, who stood at world men’s doubles No. 1 rank with Hendra in 2007, said he and his sister would need more training to strengthen their cooperation in mixed doubles.
“We surely want to win a title, but I just want to do things one thing at a time,” said the 27-year-old Markis, who with Hendra advanced to the Indonesia Open semifinals to face world No. 2 Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Pia said that for mixed doubles she would only pair with Markis in super series events.
“For other divisions, I’d like to support junior players. Therefore, I don’t mind play at smaller scale events, such as the national circuit, just to share the experience with younger shuttlers.
“I think regeneration is the most important thing in developing the nation’s badminton. Look at China; the country often provides chances for young players to experience big stages. I personally want to do that in my club [Jaya Raya badminton club],” said Pia, who is planning to be a coach in her future.
— JP/Niken Prathivi