Training sessions under his champion father helped Tommy Sugiarto achieve a long-hoped-for moment, as he beat title favourite Lin Dan in the quarter-finals of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open today.
Sugiarto Jr revealed that he had been working with his father Icuk – World Champion in 1983 – for the last two months after he decided to go independent of the national team.
“His training is harder, physically,” said the soft-spoken Tommy.
Sugiarto showed plenty of stomach for the fight. He played at a high pace throughout, chasing all of Lin’s shots, and stayed stable during the pressure points.
Lin deployed the same style that he has in recent months – a style dominated by flicks and pushes, only sparingly using his feared jump smash. Despite equalling a first-game deficit, Lin was a step behind in the decider and had to play catch-up throughout the game; Sugiarto, on the other hand, hustled for every point and went down on his knees for a long time after the final point was won: 21-17 15-21 21-17.
“It’s my best win,” said Sugiarto.
“Lin Dan is a superstar and so popular here; everybody was cheering for him. I had to concentrate on every point. I just had to keep my faith in myself. I spoke to my father yesterday and he told me to believe in myself.
“I felt that Lin was not able to focus on a few points. He has changed his style now, but he is still a special player. He is a legend.”
The Indonesian will take on Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, while Chinese qualifier Xue Song faces India’s Kidambi Srikanth in tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Srikanth’s win over Japan’s Takuma Ueda was an epic contest and one of the best matches of the tournament so far. Each outshone the other in tenacity: Ueda saved five match points in the second before equalling at a game apiece; Srikanth had a 15-9 lead in the third but saw Ueda steadily chipping away at it until there was just a point’s difference at 19-18. The Indian kept his nerve to pull away: 21-15 23-25 21-18.
Srikanth was the lone Indian out of three to make the semis; Gurusaidutt was beaten by Xue Song, while HS Prannoy fell in a blistering battle to Axelsen.
All England champion Carolina Marin (Spain) booked a last-four place with a hard-fought 21-15 17-21 21-15 win over Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara.
“That was a tough contest; I’m glad I pulled it off as I’d lost to her the last time,” said Marin.
The Spaniard faces Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, who had it rather easy over China’s Yao Xue, 21-14 21-8. India’s Saina Nehwal gave herself an opportunity to avenge a loss at India Open 2013 to Yui Hashimoto when she takes on the Japanese in the semi-finals.
Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding will hope to topple their more experienced Danish compatriots Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen in the Men’s Doubles semi-final clash. Both beat Chinese opponents: Boe/Mogensen having the measure of Wang Yilv/Zhang Wen 21-19 21-14, and Conrad-Petersen/Kolding seeing off No.4 seeds Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan 21-12 21-18. China’s lone representatives in the last-four were Chai Biao/Hong Wei, winners of a three-game battle over Japan’s Hirokatsu Hashimoto/Noriyasu Hirata; they next face Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov.
Women’s Doubles will feature an all-China contest between Luo Ying/Luo Yu and Bao Yixin/Tang Jinhua. The Luo twins had trouble fending off resistance from compatriots Ou Dongni/Yu Xiaohan 19-21 21-11 21-17, but Bao/Tang were comfortably through against Korea’s Chang Ye Na/Yoo Hae Won. The other semi-final will see Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi against Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl.
Indonesia had a good day in Mixed Doubles. Edi Subaktiar/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja powered past Singapore’s Chayut Triyachart/Shinta Mulia Sari 21-7 21-18 and joined compatriots Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto in the last four. Jordan/Susanto were impressive during their 23-21 21-12 defeat of China’s Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong. Defending champions Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark) face Jordan/Susanto while the other semi-final pits Subaktiar/Widjaja against China’s Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin.
For the day’s results, click here.