Indonesian Men’s Doubles pair Markus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo have rocketed to the top of the Destination Dubai Rankings on the back of stellar performances over the first six months.
The young Indonesians’ (featured image) partnership has blossomed since they paired up in March 2015; after Grand Prix and Grand Prix Gold wins in Chinese Taipei and Malaysia, Superseries success came at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open this April, where they surprised the likes of China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei and compatriots Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi. Not long after, they triumphed at the Xiamenair Australian Open, helping them jump up five places in the Destination Dubai Rankings. In both their victorious campaigns, the Indonesians – particularly Sukamuljo – showed enough evidence of skill and nerveless composure to indicate that they will perhaps be the most exciting young pair to watch out for.
China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei had two high points – runner-up positions at the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open and the BCA Indonesia Open – helping them to No.2 in the Destination Dubai Rankings.
Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong stitched up a sequence of title wins mid-season to get into prime form ahead of the Rio Olympics. Apart from their Superseries triumph in Indonesia, the Koreans also had title wins at the Badminton Asia Championships and the Bonny China Masters, giving them the best possible frame of mind in the pre-Olympic season and pitching themselves at No.3 in the Destination Dubai Rankings. Lee and Yoo have played four Superseries so far, winning one and making the semi-finals of the rest.
Indonesia’s Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi peaked twice this season – unfortunately for them, on both occasions they ran into their compatriots Gideon and Sukamuljo, in India and Australia. Apart from that, Pratama/Suwardi made the quarter-finals in Singapore and the second round in England and Malaysia. Their run to the final in Australia helped them leap four places in the Destination Dubai Rankings to No.4.
Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong are in fifth place. The Malaysians had a strong start to the season, reaching semi-finals in England and India, but then faltered to second round defeats in Malaysia and Singapore. A quarter-final in Indonesia, followed by another second round finish in Australia, gave them just enough points to stay ahead of China’s Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan.
Fu/Zhang did not quite enjoy the form they had last year, but they still made three Superseries quarter-finals and claimed the OUE Singapore Open – their first Superseries title since the Yonex Denmark Open in October 2014. In the intervening months, they had failed at the last hurdle in four Superseries finals; the Singapore Open title must therefore have come as a relief for the experienced Chinese.
Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa climbed two places to No.7 thanks to their quarter-final finish in Australia. The Japanese had a quiet season overall, failing to match their early season form at the All England, where they made the final.
Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol made the quarter-finals in Indonesia – where they lost to compatriots Lee/Yoo; the Koreans are eighth in the Destination Dubai Rankings, just ahead of Japan’s Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda and Denmark’s Mads Pieler Kolding/Mads Conrad-Petersen. Kamura/Sonoda made the final in Singapore, while Kolding/Conrad-Petersen were semi-finalists in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Two title-winning pairs slid after winning performances. Korea’s Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang, having clinched the Malaysia Open, could not match that form and are currently at No.13, while Yonex All England winners Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov had injury troubles and fell four places to No.18.
World champions Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan have had a rather disappointing Superseries season – their best being quarter-finals in Malaysia and Singapore. Having won the Dubai World Superseries Finals last year, the Indonesians will want to get into gear in the post-Olympic season to give themselves a shot at defending their title, when Dubai hosts the year-ending tournament from December 14 to 18 for the third time. Ahsan and Setiawan are at No.12; with six more Superseries to go, the Indonesians will have enough opportunities to make it to Dubai once again, to take the court amidst enthusiastic fans at Hamdan Sports Complex.