Tuesday, May 17, 2016
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Indonesia’s men held off Thailand to stay in lead of Group B at the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2016 today.
Although Indonesia sealed the tie in the first three matches, it wasn’t a cakewalk. Tommy Sugiarto gave Indonesia the momentum with a narrow 24-22 21-18 victory over Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.
“In the first game when Tanongsak fought back well and I tried to calm myself. Winning the first game was very important. Against a player like Tanongsak, if he gets the first game, he’ll play much better in the second and it will be hard to stop him. When my score was behind him in the second game, I tried to ease the pressure on myself. I saw Tanongsak run out of energy, so I took my chances and played more aggressively. I didn’t want to play a third game.”
Thailand split their regular doubles combinations: Kedren Kittinupong partnered Nipitphon Puangpuapech against Angga Pratama and Ricky Karanda Suwardi. The Indonesians recovered from a slow start to get past the Thais 20-22 21-10 21-12.
Jonatan Christie was caught in a hard battle with Khosit Phetpradab before winning it for Indonesia: 15-21 21-8 21-17.
Thailand reduced the deficit in the second doubles before Indonesia clinched the last match through Anthony Ginting’s straight games win over Adulrach Namkul.
The marquee match of the day was China’s Wang Shixian (featured image) and Spain’s Carolina Marin in Uber Cup Group A.
It turned out every bit as high on drama as expected; Wang – admittedly fighting to figure in the squad for Rio, won a tight match on a shuttle that found the tape: 19-21 21-18 21-19.
“What’s important for me is to be myself,” said Wang Shixian. “No matter whether I win or lose, it’s up to my performance. I should play the best, and that means I should be determined. We are both among the top players and we both performed quite well today. I hope the next time I play Marin, I will have better tactics to cope with her. Technically, she hasn’t changed much since the last time I played her. Mentally, there has been some apparent changes. We both want to play the Olympics and to win. Technique and tactics matter less than mental strength.”
Apart from the first match, China didn’t break a sweat in getting past Spain. Wang Yihan and Sun Yu beat Beatriz Corrales and Clara Azurmendi respectively in half-an-hour.
Japan too had no trouble decimating Australia 5-0 in Uber Cup Group D, while in Thomas Cup Group C, England held off Germany 4-1. Germany remained winless in the group, while England returned home with today’s consolation win. For England, Rajiv Ouseph, Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge, Toby Penty and Alex Lane were the winners.