Indonesia got through their Group C tie against Canada at the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2021, but it was a lot harder than they might have anticipated.
The Indonesians were 1-2 down at one stage against a second-string Canadian team, and Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu were making heavy weather of their match against scratch combination Catherine Choi and Rachel Chan. However, from midway in the opening game the Olympic champions got into rhythm, and their 21-16 21-10 result set the stage for their mixed doubles duo of Rinov Rivaldy/Pitha Haningtyas Mentari to close out the contest against BR Sankeerth and Crystal Lai.
The Indonesians face Denmark tomorrow for the top place in the group. The Danes were clinical against NBFR after a 0-1 deficit, taking the next four matches at the cost of one game.
Despite the win, Indonesia would have some thinking to do. Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto had given them the lead, before Canada pulled level with Rachel Chan prevailing in a battle of teenagers against 16-year-old Ester Nurumi Tri Wardoyo.
Jonatan Christie was favoured to take the men’s singles against Brian Yang but the tenacious Canadian stole the show. Christie started breezily against Brian Yang and even had match point in the second, but Yang didn’t let go and the momentum swung his way, 9-21 22-20 21-18.
“In the beginning I could do what I planned, and I led 6-0 in the second. Maybe I made many mistakes,” said Christie. “He got confident after that. He has a good attack and good defence.”
Yang said the narrow win in the second game had helped him gain confidence.
“I knew he would use his physicality and I had to be ready to grind it out. I was just happy to keep going longer because I wanted to savour playing these world class players. To be able to come back form 19-20 boosts my confidence level.
“I didn’t have a lot of pressure because there was nothing for me to lose, he’s top 10 in the world and I was expected to lose. Watching Rachel win must have put pressure on him.
“I’ve had some good matches in the last few months, and with every match I have like this, it gets me more confident and gives me momentum. I’m just trying to gain experience and not put expectations on myself.”
Impressive Show by Denmark
NBFR enjoyed a strong start, with Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova powering past Mathias Christiansen/Alexandra Boje in the third game. Viktor Axelsen expectedly levelled the score for Denmark, and for NBFR, much depended on men’s doubles.
New combination Anders Skaarup Rasmussen and Frederik SØgaard were caught in a tight battle against Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov in the opening game, but once they had taken it, their opponents’ challenge fell apart, 24-22 21-16.
Evegeniya Kosetskaya did her best to keep NBFR in the contest, but the Dane kept her nerve in a tense ending, 21-16 11-21 21-18.
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