Bright Day for Indonesia – Day 4: Victor Korea Open 2017
Friday, September 15, 2017
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO

Indonesia enjoyed a profitable day at the Victor Korea Open 2017 today, winning four of their five matches and keeping alive the prospect of an all-Indonesian Men’s Singles final.

Jonatan Christie and Anthony Ginting made the Men’s Singles semi-finals in opposite halves – while Christie gave himself a birthday present with a narrow win over Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai, Ginting had it slightly easier, powering past another Japanese, Kenta Nishimoto, in straight games.

Christie faces Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei, who overcame mid-match resistance from Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus, 21-11 19-21 21-14, to make his first Superseries semi-final. In the top quarter, Korea’s Son Wan Ho stayed on track for a first Korea Open win by beating India’s Sameer Verma 20-22 21-10 21-13.

Indonesia recorded wins in Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles as well. Men’s Doubles second seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (featured image) stayed the course in a tight second game to beat World champions Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan (China) 21-16 28-26. Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto wrapped up a successful day for Indonesia with a compact, error-free performance against Japan’s Takuro Hoki/Sayaka Hirota in their Mixed Doubles quarter-finals, 21-17 21-17.

Gideon and Sukamuljo’s semi-final opponents will be Japan’s Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, who held off an inspired charge from first-time quarter-finalists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty: 21-14 17-21 21-15.

“We had our chances, if we had stayed steady we might have beaten them,” said Shetty. “They were faster than the pairs we’ve played before. In the second game, we used the drift to our advantage. We played soft and forced them to lift. Although we lost we can take away a lot from this tournament. This is just the start, hopefully we’ll do better in time to come.”

The Indians were unintimidated by the third-ranked Japanese and matched them shot for shot in an all-out attacking battle. The second was all theirs as Rankireddy and Shetty extracted the lifts at will and smashed with power and precision.

Kamura and Sonoda however turned it around early in the third and never let the momentum slip.

In the top half, their Japanese compatriots Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi also made the semi-finals, where they face top seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark).

In Women’s Singles, a replay of the TOTAL BWF World Championships final remained on the cards with both the finalists making the last-four. World champion Nozomi Okuhara eased into the semi-finals beating Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin 21-15 21-10 and will face familiar rival and compatriot Akane Yamaguchi, who was similarly dominant over Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon.

In the top half, India’s Pusarla V Sindhu needed three games to get past Japan’s Minatsu Mitani, 21-19 16-21 21-10. Up next is China’s He Bingjiao, who dashed Korean hopes by beating Sung Ji Hyun in a three game thriller, 21-19 16-21 21-19.

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