Marcus and Kevin, Tontowi and Liliyana reach Dubai semifinals
The Jakarta Post
Indonesia saw two of its badminton pairs advance in the season's final tournament, with men's doubles favorites Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and mixed doubles pair Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir having secured semifinal spots in the 2017 BWF Dubai World Superseries Finals.
In the semifinals on Saturday, world number one pair Marcus and Kevin will face Japan’s Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda, whom they lost to in their opening match of the group stage.
“I see all semifinalists as equals. I hope we can deliver a better [result], after learning from our last meeting,” Kevin said as quoted by badmintonindonesia.org.
Marcus and Kevin, the favored men’s doubles pair in the US$1 million tournament, were forced to fight through the group stage, recording two wins and a loss.
The Indonesians won a crucial final match in Group A on Friday against China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen 21-16, 14-21, 21-15 to earn the second spot in the group and advance to the semifinals.
In mixed doubles, Tontowi and Liliyana also finished the group stage as runner-ups after beating China’s Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping in Group B's final round-robin match. Like their compatriots, the 2017 World Championship winners also gained a win in their first match before suffering a loss in their second.
Tontowi and Liliyana will face top seeds China’s Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen in their semifinals clash on Saturday.
“We must play our best because the semifinals have a different atmosphere. Good communication will be key,” said Liliyana. (nkn)
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