Surprise winners in both the men’s and women’s singles events and a home triumph in the mixed doubles: Iain Spragg reviews all the action from the BCA Indonesia Open
Srikanth speeds to victory
All good things come to those who wait and after drawing a blank in the BWF World Superseries for over two years, Kidambi Srikanth was crowned champion in Indonesia after a dominant display in the final against Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai.
The 24-year-old’s last title had come in New Delhi in 2015 but the Indian returned to winning ways with a 21-11, 21-19 success over Sakai in a match that lasted a mere 37 minutes in the Jakarta Conference Centre.
Skrinath endured an enforced six-month absence from the game last year due to injury but, having finished as runner-up in Singapore in April, the world no. 14 was back to his best in Indonesia to boost his chances of booking a place in the Dubai World Superseries Finals in December.
“It’s been a long time since I won a Superseries event,” he told the BWF website. “It was a fantastic match. I started well and my attack was working well. I am happy to come out on top.”
Standing ovation for Sato
The crowd stood to applaud Sayaka Sato as the 26-year-old clinched the most significant win of her career to date, the Japanese player beating Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea in three sets in the women’s final.
Sato was the runner-up as a teenager at the BCA Indonesia Open seven years ago but went one better this year as she defeated the world no. 3. The 21-13, 17-21, 21-14 victory puts her on the verge of breaking into the elite world top 10 with just three of the eight of Superseries events left to play ahead of the end-of-year finals in Dubai.
“This means a lot to me,” Sato told the BWF website after her victory. “In my heart I really wanted to win this title. I knew it would be tough and it was. In the third game, I was feeling nervous and exhausted but my coaches kept encouraging, telling me I could do it.”
Joy in Jakarta
Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir ensured there was a rousing climax to the BCA Indonesia Open with their victory in the mixed doubles final, the first time the duo had triumphed in their home tournament.
The reigning Olympic champions were up against the world’s top-ranked pairing of Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen of China but after a tense first set that went 22-20 to the overwhelming crowd favourites, Ahmad and Natsir were imperious in the second, taking it 21-15 to spark wild celebrations inside the Jakarta Conference Centre.
“I am pleased to give this prize to Indonesia,” Natsir said to the BWF website. “This was a hard match. They are younger than us and stronger than us. The points were tight but we stayed focus. The first game was the key and it was important that we won it.”
China’s doubles dominance
Indonesia may have clinched the mixed doubles in Jakarta but the men’s and women’s crowns both went to Chinese pairings as the race for places in the Dubai World Superseries Finals completed the fifth of its eight events.
In the men’s doubles, Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen recovered from the disappointment of dropping the second set to the Danish pair of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen to emerge 21-19, 19-21, 21-18 winners while in the women’s tournament, China’s Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan eventually proved too strong for South Korea’s Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee, registering a 21-19, 15-21, 21-10 victory in the final.