WORDS cannot describe the great emotion and electrifying atmosphere at the newly-refurbished Istora Senayan where thousands of spectators packed the indoor stadium throughout the duration of the DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters 2018 from 23-28 January 2018. Over 6 days, the tournament, described as the biggest feat for the homesters on homeground, took place at the new Senayan Gelora Bung Karno indoor stadium with many exciting happenings, on and off the courts. Here, Ben Kasyafani, shares his experience…
The DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters as seen by Ben Kasyafani
The new DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters 2018 has made me realised one very important aspect for sports personalities or entertainers like me, that is, without fans, you are nothing. This was evident in the recent DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters 2018, which made me realised how fans can really lift your spirit, motivation, and your determination to succeed to the highest level.
The crowd was simply massive and extremely passionate, and the scene at the new-look Istora Senayan, used for the first time this year, was simply exhilarating, especially when Indonesia has representatives in four of the finals on 28 January. The passionate chant, loud celebration were so loud, sending goosebumps to those who were present in and around the arena.
It was something I’ve never imagined especially after young singles star Anthony Sinisuka GINTING and the top pair of Marcus Fernaldi GIDEON/Kevin Sanjaya SUKAMULJO had sealed the men’s singles and men’s doubles titles respectively in fashionable ways. Expect Istora Senayan to bring in more glory in the coming months as Indonesia gears itself for more exciting tournaments including the Indonesia Open and the Asian Games this year.
Regarding the Finals
The Men's Singles Finals: Young singles star brings joy to home crowd
Following Viktor AXELSEN’s exit in round two at the hands of Japanese Kazumasa SAKAI, the tussle for the men’s singles title was left open with no actual favourites. This was when Indonesia’s star Anthony GINTING rose to the challenge, especially after spectacularly dispatching Olympic champion CHEN Long in a tight three-game quarterfinal battle of 21-11, 16-21, 21-18 in slightly over an hour. Unlike the quarterfinals, a semi-final clash against world number 6 CHOU Tien Chen of Taiwan was a tight three-game tussle which eventually favoured GINTING 21-16, 13-21-21-12. A finale against the 27-year old Japanese Kazumasa SAKAI, who had earlier beaten Korean SON Wan Ho (world no. 4) awaits. The vociferous support by the home crowd must have rattled SAKAI while the 21-year-old GINTING gained strength from the atmosphere as a one-side battle later ensued with the Indonesian later lifting the men’s singles title in just 33 minutes.
The Women's Singles Finals: TAI made amends at Istora as victory over Saina places her back on top
After losing out to Thailand’s Ratchanok INTANON in the PERODUA Malaysia Masters presented by DAIHATSU the week before, TAI Tzu Ying came back strongly with a fine performance in the DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters which consolidates her position at the top of the world ranking. TAI’s strength lies in her capabilities in reading her opponent’s game, quickly capitalising on their weaknesses and their mistakes. This was evident as her final opponent, Saina NEHWAL of India failed to lift her game and succumbed to pressure following TAI’s dominance on court. As a result, in just 27 minutes and over two games, TAI reigned supreme with a 21-9, 21-13 easy victory over the Indian champion. It was TAI’s seventh victory over Saina, who clearly had a bad day but still walked home as runner-up in the tournament.
The Men's Doubles Finals: Istora ruptures as Marcus/Kevin win three-game thriller over China’s LI/LIU
Following losses of its women pair and mixed doubles pair in the finals, it was left to Marcus Fernaldi GIDEON and Kevin Sanjaya SUKAMULJO to light up the atmosphere at Istora and bring joy to the passionate home supporters. It was indeed a tense moment as fans were kept to the edge of their seats with an explosive three-set thriller against Chinese world number two LI Junhui and LIU Yuchen. Each point matters as both were at the top of their game, with the Indonesia duo holding slight advantage as the 7,200 fans were solidly rallying behind them. It was another fitting finale as Marcus and Kevin played their hearts out to seal the match 11-21, 21-10, 21-16 in under one hour despite a nervous start which saw them losing out easily to the Chinese pair in the first game. Marcus/Kevin however bounced back strongly with an impressive and aggressive performance which befits their status as the world number one pair.
The Women's Doubles Finals: Misaki/Ayaka show character to lift title despite nervous moments against home pair of Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu
Misaki MATSUTOMO and Ayaka TAKAHASHI advanced into the finals after their 76-minute semifinal feat over Malaysia Masters champion Kamilla Rytter JUHL and Christinna PEDERSEN. It was the Japanese pair’s first win since September last year (Japan Open) but it was not sealed easily as they face stiff resistance from the gutsy home pair of Greysia POLII/Apriyani RAHAYU who had earlier stunned 5th seed LEE So Hee/SHIN Seung Chan in the semifinals.
After four unfruitful months, both MATSUTOMO/TAKAHASHI stormed back to their winning ways, climbing back onto the podium with their first feat with a 48-minute battle against the Indonesian. However, victory did not come easy as they had not only had to contend against the gutsy Greysia/Apriyani pair on courts, but also the vociferous supporters at Istora. Admitting that it had put them under tremendous pressure, the Japanese however showed strong character to overcome their nervousness and won 21-17, 21-12.
The Mixed Doubles Finals: The first finals for an Indonesian pair in this category. Fast-game strategy against home pair proved fruitful for ZHENG/HUANG
Crowd favourites Tontowi AHMAD and Liliyana NATSIR, popularly known as Owi-Butet, stepped onto the centre court with the top favourite tags on their back. After dispatching off compatriot Praveen JORDAN and Melati Daeva OKTAVIANTI in the semifinals, Tontowi/Liliyana are poised for their first win against world number 6, ZHENG Siwei/HUANG Yaqiong. But it was not meant to be as the Chinese pair were in their elements to deny the home pair their first major win of the year.
The Chinese pair made full use of their fast-game approach, rattling Tontowi/Liliyana much to disappointment of their fans. It was tight in the early part of the game but ZHENG’s fast attacking game proved too much for the Indonesia pair who eventually concede a 21-14, 21-11 defeat in just 33 minutes.
Marcus Fernaldi GIDEON / Kevin Sanjaya SUKAMULJO
(Men’s Doubles Champion)
“We were clearly not into our normal game in the first game and that led to our downfall. The Chinese pair were very fast but we quickly picked up steam in the second and third and rattled them at their own game. Indeed, we’re extremely happy as this our first title at home. We will now focus ourselves for the World Championships and the Jakarta Asian Games.”
Misaki MATSUTOMO / Ayaka TAKAHASHI
(Women’s Doubles Champion)
“The first game was very tight, it could go either way. We had expected a tough match not only because we’re playing against a good home pair, but also against the 7,000 vociferous fans who were solidly rallying behind Greysia and Apriyani. But we remained focused on the courts, followed our strategy and it paid off.”
Final Game Results
|Category||Player name||Match results|
||11-21, 21-10, 21-16|
The end of the tournament and towards 2019
As a big step towards DAIHATSU x BADMINTON series
Ben Kasyafani (born 4 July, 1983)
Wellknown as Ben the MTV VJ and TV host from Indonesia. Ben hosted two shows on the same television channel, which is Penghuni Terakhir 2010 and the Katakan Katamu Show that aired on ANTV. In addition, has a career as a movie star since 2008.