Tangkas Specs and Malaysia Tigers won their respective groups after beating their opponents in the last group matches of the 2013 Superliga Badminton tournament on Thursday, which was marred by somewhat unsportsmanlike behavior by former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat.
Tangkas, under the coaching pair of Kurniahu and Hendry Saputra, topped Group A after winning all four matches, with the last point coming at the expense of Jaya Raya Suryanaga. It proved to be a nail-biting encounter at the DBL Arena as Tangkas narrowly won 3-2.
Suryanaga took a 1-0 lead after Sony Dwi Kuncoro defeated Nguyen Tien Minh, 21-13, 9-21, 21-18. Tangkas won the following two ties to swing the game in their favor. Maneepong Jongjit/Nipitphon Puangpuapech of Thailand outplayed Alvent Yulianto Candra/Ronald Alexander, 21-17, 21-13 and Simon Santoso stunned world’s No. 6 Hu Yun 21-16, 15-21, 21-11.
Suryanaga refused to sit back with Ryan Agung Saputra/Trikusuma Wardhana bringing the score back up by defeating Gideon Marcus Fernaldi/Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankarnariya 16-21, 28-26, 21-14.
Alamsyah Yunus sealed the victory for Tangkas by beating Wong Wing Ki 21-12, 21-13. Tangkas had previously won 3-2 over Japan’s Unisys, 4-1 over PB Djarum and 4-1 over Mutiara Bandung.
Despite the defeat, Suryanaga still advanced to the semifinals as runner-up. It will take on Group B winner Malaysia Tigers.
The Tigers crushed 2011 champion SGS Bandung 4-1, although the start of the game had seemed to be going against their expectations when Daren Liew went down to Kenichi Tago 17-21, 21-14, 9-21.
But it proved to be their only reversal as they were unstoppable in the remaining four matches.
Hoon Tien How/Tan Wee Kiong eased past Hendra Aprida Gunawan/Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki with 21-17, 21-13.
Goh V Shem/Lom Khim Wah faced minimal issues against Senatria Agus Setia Putra/ Suherlan in which they won 21-9, 21-18. Chong Wei Feng assured the victory for the Tigers with a 16-21, 21-10, 21-23 win.
Wei Feng’s win made the fifth match between Taufik Hidayat, who won Indonesia’s only gold in Athens at the Olympics in 2004, and Mohamad Arif Abdul Latief merely a formality.
Taufik lost 13-21, 8-21 in only 20 minutes. He later acknowledged that he did not give it his all.
When asked if the way he played would disappoint his fans, he was quoted by Antara as saying: “The players are required to entertain the fans, but the fans must also understand the strategy of the players.”
Musica Champion and Jaya Raya Jakarta ended their group matches with the same number of points, but the former qualified for the semifinals thanks to its 3-2 win over the latter.
In the women’s category, Unisys beat Renesas 3-0 to proceed to the final. Its opponent will be either Jaya Raya Jakarta or PB Djarum, who were still playing their semifinal matches in the evening.