Germany had a dream day at the Djarum Indonesia Open Superseries Premier with its top two singles stars reaching the finals.
After Marc Zwiebler (left) won a surprisingly one-sided Men’s Singles contest against local hope Tommy Sugiarto 21-17 21-10, Juliane Schenk (BWF home page) upset defending Women’s Singles champion Saina Nehwal of India in an engrossing tussle, 12-21 21-13 21-14. Zwiebler will play three-time champion Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) in tomorrow’s showdown, while Schenk takes on top seed Li Xuerui (China).
While the Women’s Doubles will be an all-China affair, the Men’s Doubles will see Hendra Setiawan/Mohd Ahsan (Indonesia) challenge second seeds Lee Yong Dae/Ko Sung Hyun (Korea). The Mixed Doubles final features Danish duo Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen versus Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (China). The pairs are deadlocked 6-6 in their career record.
The Schenk-Nehwal contest was most peculiar. Nehwal was the overwhelming favourite, having won seven of their last eight matches. However, the German started off strongly, imposing her aggressive game to go up 12-6. The match then turned in the most unusual way. Nehwal slowly inched back, and Schenk lost composure and focus, throwing away 15 straight points to allow Nehwal to take the game.
To her credit, Schenk was able to put that disastrous run behind her and regained the upper hand with some astute play. Her attacking game, studded with some jump smashes, sharp interceptions and delicate net shots, helped her dominate Nehwal, who was strangely passive throughout the 52-minute encounter. Nehwal struggled to stay in the rallies and Schenk finally won the match with another tight net shot.
The other finalist and top seed, Li Xuerui, overcame the tenacious Yip Pui Yin (Hong Kong), 17-21 21-11 21-11.
* Russian duo Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov gave another impressive demonstration of their capabilities by pushing Indonesia’s Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan (centre below) close. After the Indonesians outclassed them tactically in the first game, Sozonov and Ivanov turned the tables by dominating net exchanges, and even the unflappable Setiawan erred on several serves. The Indonesians finally scraped through, 21-10 20-22 21-14.
* The Ahsan/Setiawan win was the only bright spot on a bad day for hosts, Indonesia. Both their Men’s Singles contenders – Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka and Tommy Sugiarto – and Mixed Doubles pair, Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir, lost in straight games.
* The Women’s Doubles final will be a battle between Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli and Bao Yixin/Cheng Shu. In the all-China semi-finals, Bao Yixin/Cheng Shu surprised Olympic champions Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei 21-17 22-20, while top seeds Yu/Wang eased past Ma Jin/Tang Jinhua 21-18 21-16.
Text by Dev Sukumar | Badmintonphoto