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INDONESIA OPEN SF – Olympic champions looking for home title

  • Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:39

The 2016 Olympic gold medallists Tontowi Ahmad & Liliyana Natsir are still hungry to win the title. They played twice in the final round but couldn’t get gold. This year, the opportunity is back again and they don’t want to let it slip away…

By Mathilde Liliana Perada, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The 6th-seeded Tontowi Ahmad & Liliyana Natsir will meet the world #1 Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen after beating Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon / Peck Yen Wei (photo) 21-13, 21-14 on Saturday, in a noisy Jakarta Convention Center.

“Chan Peng Soon plays well to cover his younger partner. We saw their match before in the quarter-final and he tried to cover up his partner’s weaknesses,” said Natsir.

The new Malaysia pairing admitted that Ahmad/Natsir played really well and gave them a hard time: “The Indonesian were full of high spirit and really strong,” Chan told the press.

Peck Yen Wei confessed that she felt so nervous that her hands were shaking earlier in the match, because of the crowd. “I feel so proud to be able to learn from Olympic champions,” Peck said of her opponents.

In the final round, Ahmad and Natsir (photo) don’t want to underestimate their rivals. They want to play with no pressure and do their best: “Our opponents are strong. They are young and energetic and also ranked #1 in mixed doubles,” said Natsir.

China Young Players Dominate

China will have three representatives in the finals of the Indonesia Open Superseries Premier 2017. Chen Qingchen will be playing in two of them. Eventually, she will meet the Olympic champions in mixed doubles, but first, she will have to go up against the pair she lost to in the Sudirman Cup championship final.

“I will stay focussed for the match tomorrow.  I come to win,” Chen said.

Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee (photo) were still powerful after their Sudirman Cup success last month. They beat Japan’s Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto 21-14, 12-21, 21-11 and will challenge Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan in the race for the title. That will be a repeat of the Sudirman Cup final match in Jakarta.

“We will watch their match video and will think about the strategy against them,” said Chang about the final match.

Another set of Chinese Youngsters Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (photo) sent home their compatriots Liu Cheng / Zhang Nan late last night 21-17, 18-21, 21-18. They will play a rematch of their Singapore Open final against Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen in the hopes of taking home the title this time.

“The match went well and was satisfying.  We could feel a huge euphoria from the supporters. We will get some rest and stay focussed to face the Danes,” said Li.

Finals line-up
WD:  Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee (KOR) [3] vs. Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN) [5]
MS:  Kidambi Srikanth (IND) vs. Kazumasa Sakai (JPN)
WS:  Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) [5] vs. Sayaka Sato (JPN)
MD:  Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) [2] vs. Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (CHN) [3]
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1] vs. Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (IND) [6]

Click here for complete semi-final results

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