The Jakarta Post
Simon Santoso bounced back on Sunday after a shaky start to the year, by crushing world number one Lee Chong Wei in a straight game in the Singapore Open Super Series 2014 men's singles final.
Simon, who seemed to be back on form after battling injury throughout 2013, did not waste much time collecting points. He led the match from the first game and was 11-8 up by the first half. He did not give Chong Wei many chances to catch up and finally sealed the first game 21-15.
'I asked Simon to play safe and patiently. I told him to maintain his tempo and to not be repetitive,' Simon's coach, Hendri Saputra, said.
Simon, who resigned from the Indonesian Badminton Association's (PBSI) training center earlier this year to train with Tangkas Specs Badminton Jakarta, maintained his dominance in the second game and wrapped it up with 21-10.
He clinched the title that was won by Tommy Sugiarto last year.
'I'm really glad and proud to have defeated Lee Chong Wei. I just hope I can maintain my performance,' said Simon, thanking all the people who had supported him.
Even Chong Wei, who had outplayed Simon in nine matches out of their 11 encounters, gave credit to Simon.
'Simon played very well today. I've not seen him play so well in a long time,' said Chong Wei.
They last met at the finals of the 2008 Singapore Open where Simon was beaten 13-21, 5-21.
Simon, whose rank dropped from three to 52 due to injuries last year, fought his way from the qualifying round. Out of seven matches, he had only been in three-game matches before he faced fifth-seed Du Pengyu of China in the semifinal.
Earlier on Sunday, Indonesia's three-time All England champions, Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir, retained their Singapore Open title after defeating compatriots Riky Widianto/Richi Puspita Dili 21-15, 22-20.
'Playing against our own colleagues is sometimes more difficult than facing opponents from other countries. We carried the weight of people's expectations because we were the first seeds in this tournament, while Riky/Richi played loosely,' said Liliyana.
'Thankfully we won, but there's much room for improvement. We made mistakes often, which benefited our opponents,' she added.
For Riky/Richi, both relative newcomers in the PBSI training center, being in the final of a super series tournament for the first time boosted their motivation to improve their performance.
'This is certainly an incentive and a stepping stone for us to do better,' said Richi.
Results of the Singapore Open Super Series
Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Ina) vs Riky Widianto/Richi Puspita Dili (Ina), (XD) 21-15, 22-20
Wang Yihan (Chn) vs Li Xuerui (Chn) (WS) 21-11, 21-19
Cai Yun/Kai Lu (Chn) vs Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin (Tpe), (MD) 21-19, 21-14
Bao Yixin/Tang Jinhua (Chn) vs Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den), (WD) 14-21, 21-19, 21-15
Simon Santoso (Ina) vs Lee Chong Wei (Mas), (MS) 21-15, 21-10