The Jakarta Post
Indonesia's men's doubles badminton pair Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan saved the face of the nation by bringing home their first title of the year from the 2015 Malaysia Open Super Series Premier after defeating world number one pair Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong of South Korea in a hard-fought 14-21, 21-15, 23-21 win.
'Finally we can win [a title] in 2015. The last time we won the Malaysia Open was in 2013. We are thankful for all the support from our families in Indonesia and the people who have come to this stadium to cheer for us,' Ahsan said after the match.
It was not an easy match for the 2014 All England champion as the Korean pair took the first game easily. Only in the second game did Hendra and Ahsan turn the tables against their long-time rivals Lee and Yoo by winning 21-15 before clinching the nerve-racking third game 23-21.
'They are among our toughest opponents. They defeated us several times in previous tournaments, but we set the head-to-head record aside. We were more confident this time because of better preparation,' said Hendra.
In their previous seven encounters, the Indonesian pair won only two: in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Thomas Cup men's team championship and the final round of the quadrennial multi-sport Asian Games last year in Incheon, South Korea.
'The win will definitely become our motivation in future tournaments, especially at the upcoming BWF World Championships [in Jakarta],' said Hendra.
Spanish women's singles shuttler Carolina Marin also helped prevent Chinese domination of the competition by defeating the world's top player, Li Xuerui, by 19-21, 21-19 and 21-17.
'After winning the All England, my confidence has soared and I am happy to have won this because I knew how hard a tournament like this can be,' Marin said as quoted by Agence France-Presse. 'I feel I am at the top of my game
at the moment.'
In the men's singles, world number one Chen Long had to fight hard before overcoming world number three Lin Dan by 20-22, 21-13 and 21-11.
'I performed well in the first game despite losing and was better prepared for the second and third and I am happy with the win,' said Chen, who received US$37,500 for his victory.
Lin, a five-time world champion and twice Olympic gold medalist, has yet to win the Malaysia Open, one of the only titles missing from his glittering trophy cabinet.
'I started well in the first game, but committed many mistakes in the second and third. My movement was also slow today and that contributed to my defeat,' he said. 'I was injured for most parts of last year and I'm trying hard to recover my best form. I want to be at my best for the Olympics next year.'
Chinese shuttlers brought home two other titles.
Women's doubles Ying Luo and Yu Luo didn't work up a sweat defeating Chang Ye-na and Jung Kyung-eun of South Korea 21-18, 21-9. Mixed doubles world number two Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei easily defeated world number four Xu Chen and Majin 21-16, 21-14.