Indonesia sport a healthy look as they seek to top Group B of the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2023 before mounting a challenge in the knockout rounds for a title they have only won once. That was way back in 1989 during the inaugural edition of the tournament. They have been in five finals subsequently – the last coming in 2007. Since then, in the seven editions of the tournament, they’ve never crossed the semifinals.
This year, if they do play at full strength, they have a team that’s strong in multiple departments. Particularly encouraging for them will be the form of Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, winner of the recent Madrid Spain Masters. Tunjung’s recent performances – she beat Carolina Marin and Pusarla V Sindhu in Madrid – will give the Indonesians additional firepower in a category that they haven’t been particularly strong at in recent years.
With the reliable Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Jonatan Christie in men’s singles and a luxury of choice in men’s doubles, the Indonesians will be confident of making at least the semifinals. Their women’s doubles pair of Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti are still searching for their best form, but they will be encouraged by their semifinal finish at the Swiss Open.
A full-strength Thailand will also be a hard team to beat for the other top teams, but there has always been an element of unpredictability about them. Their ace in the pack will be Kunlavut Vitidsarn, who shot into the limelight with his upset of Viktor Axelsen in the India Open final earlier this year.
The Thais’ choice in women’s singles could be interesting, with veteran Ratchanok Intanon out of form – her last semifinal was at the Denmark Open in October. It could therefore fall to Pornpawee Chochuwong, winner of the Swiss Open. The women’s doubles (Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai or Benyapa Aimsaard/Nuntakarn Aimsaard) and mixed doubles (Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai) are Thailand’s strengths, and there will be much curiosity around the form of the latter pair. The 2021 world champions have had a roller-coaster year so far.
Pan Am winners Canada have established names in Michelle Li and Brian Yang. The last season has seen new partnerships emerge – such as Dong Adam/Nyl Yakura in men’s doubles and Ty Alexander Lindeman/Josephine Wu in mixed doubles.
It will take something extraordinary for either Indonesia or Thailand to miss making the knockout rounds, but upsets are never far away in sports. Germany and Canada have their particular strengths and a couple of inspired performances might well tip the scales in their favour.