Opening day at the BCA Indonesia Open 2016 was, in keeping with the event’s tradition, as loud, cheerful and celebratory as only an Indonesian crowd can get. Players who hadn’t experienced the atmosphere before were in a daze.
“I was here for the World Championships,” said Australia’s Sawan Serasinghe. “But this is amazing, one of a kind. Even though it’s qualifying, first day, everyone’s turned up. You don’t get this anywhere else.”
The crowd needed no special reason to keep up their deafening drumbeat and chant, but the performance of the home players helped. Qualifying day had a number of home players in the draw, and that was plenty of motivation for the tireless cheerleaders in the stands. The MetLife BWF World Superseries circuit, whose last stop was the OUE Singapore Open in April, is back with a bang.
Among those who couldn’t capitalise on the crowd’s energy was Dane Rasmus Fladberg, son of former international Steen Fladberg and Kirsten Larsen, who fell in the first round of Men’s Singles qualifying.
“I can only say the crowd is amazing,” said Fladberg. “However, I don’t think I have enough experience to play these matches. I felt anxious and just didn’t feel comfortable. It’s a new thing for me to go here and really want to perform, but the nerves and anxiety takes control your body. I didn’t manage to play my own rhythm. I feel sad about that. This is my first time in Indonesia. I’m so disappointed.”
All the Men’s Singles qualifiers were non-Indonesians: Goh Soon Huat (Malaysia), Huang Yuxiang (China), Brice Leverdez (France) and Derek Wong (Singapore).
Serasinghe was among the non-Indonesian pairs to make the Mixed Doubles main draw. Serasinghe and partner Setyana Mapasa beat Denmark’s Anders Skaarup Rasmussen/Maiken Fruergaard to make it to tomorrow’s first round – against title contenders Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir.
The Indonesian second seeds will hope to make up for their bitter semi-final loss in the TOTAL BWF World Championships last year, when they were within a point of making the final. In their quest for their first title here, they have a tough draw, with compatriots Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto and Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong in their quarter, and a possible semi-final against Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen, China’s Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen or defending champions Xu Chen/Ma Jin (also China).
Top seeds Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei have an opportunity to avenge their Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open loss to Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying as they take on the Malaysians in the opening round. Possible semi-final opponents could be Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na or compatriots Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin.
Men’s Singles has a tricky draw. Top seed Chen Long, in search of his first Indonesia Open title, runs into an opponent who could potentially derail his campaign – local hope Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who scripted a fairytale comeback win at the OUE Singapore Open in April. In the same half is Lin Dan, who, like Chen, is yet to win the Indonesia Open and might want to set that anomaly right. Lin’s recent nemesis Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark) however is in his quarter; Jorgensen will face the player he beat in the Thomas Cup final, Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting.
Second seed Lee Chong Wei, who has five titles here, starts against India’s Sameer Verma. Despite the presence of Korea’s Son Wan Ho and Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long in his quarter, Lee is favoured to make the semi-finals, possibly against Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen.
Spain’s Carolina Marin returns to the scene of one of her great triumphs, the World Championships last year. Interestingly, the top seed is drawn to meet the player she beat in the final, India’s Saina Nehwal, in the quarter-finals.
Second seed Ratchanok Intanon, on a Superseries-winning streak, opens against China’s Sun Yu; her quarter also has two other strong Chinese in Wang Shixian and He Bingjiao. Nozomi Okuhara (Japan), who has been below her best since winning the Yonex All England in March, faces qualifier Jauza Fadhila Sugiarto, daughter of former World Champion Icuk. Sugiarto prevailed in a long qualification battle (27-29 21-10 21-11) over Lyanny Alessandra Mainaky, in a contest between the daughters of former Indonesian internationals.
Men’s Doubles is likely to see a crackling opener between top seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (Korea) and Indonesia’s Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi. Denmark’s Mathias Boe and partner Carsten Mogensen – who is coming back after brain surgery – have a tough opening round against China’s Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen. Second seeds Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan too have a difficult first round lined up, against Hong Kong’s Or Chin Chung/Tang Chun Man, who beat them at the Thomas Cup recently.
Tian Qing, who won the Women’s Doubles title last year with Tang Jinhua, and regular partner Zhao Yunlei have a possible quarter-final lined up against compatriots Luo Ying/Luo Yu.
Top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi are likely to run into Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl in the quarter-finals and Tian/Zhao in the semi-finals. Malaysia Open champions Yu Yang/Tang Yuanting have an easier draw, with their first serious challenge expected to come from Korea’s Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee in the quarter-finals.
Qualifiers (complete results awaited):
Men’s Singles: Goh Soon Huat (Malaysia), Huang Yuxiang (China), Brice Leverdez (France), Derek Wong (Singapore)
Women’s Singles: Hera Desi, Febby Angguni, Aprilla Yuswandari, Jauza Fadhila Sugiarto (all Indonesia)
Men’s Doubles: Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto; Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankaryanira/Hafiz Faisal; Calvin Kristanto/Bagas Maulana; Akbar Bintang Cahyono/Angger Sudrajat (all Indonesia)
Mixed Doubles: Ardiansyah/Devi Tika Permatasari (Indonesia); Kim Astrup/Line Kjaersfeldt (Denmark); Manu Attri/Ashwini Ponnappa (India); Sawan Serasinghe/Setyana Mapasa (Australia)