SURABAYA (21 MARCH 2013): Indonesia’s Simon Santoso returned to competitive badminton a fully recharged player, defeating Vietnam’s Nguyen Hoang Nam in their opening singles match of the US$1 million Axiata Cup championships today.
And with his victory, the Indonesians stormed to a 4-0 win in the opening tie of the championships second edition.
For the former World No.5, Indonesia’s tie with Vietnam was a curtain raiser of sorts as it was his first competitive match this year. His 21-14, 21-10 victory was the perfect opening for the 27-year-old.
And now he is looking forward to other tournaments to revive his rankings and earn glory for his Republic.
Currently ranked World No. 20, today’s singles match was Santoso’s first of the year after a layoff of six months following a viral infection which brought him down. He last played in the French Open last October where he conceded a walkover to Malaysia’s Chan Seang Tan.
Prior to that tournament, he also lost to the Malaysian at the Denmark Open 14-21, 19-21.
“It was a good opening for my badminton career,” said Santoso, adding that he was looking forward and was prepared for other tournaments too. “This is my first tournament for the year and it was on a bright note. It feels so good to be able to absorb the atmosphere of the stadium. This will spur my enthusiasm for tournaments like the Australia Open and New Zealand Open.”
Prior to the singles match, Indonesia’s mixed pair of Ricky Karanda Suwardi-Bellaetrix Manuputy took less than 20 minutes to defeat Duong Bao Duc-Thai Thi Hong Gan in straight sets.
Their 21-22, 21-13 victory over the Vietnamese pair saw Indonesia scoring their first point, and the second game victory brought to end the mixed doubles tie in less than 20 minutes.
The point-based system and woman singles category are the new introductions to this year’s Axiata Cup.
The woman singles tie between Apirila Yuswandari and Vu Thi Trang was another match which was keenly contested with the first game going into deuce.
For 25-year-old Apirila, little did she expect her Vietnamese opponent to put up a strong fight after Indonesia had taken an overall 2-0 lead.
Long rallies and deft net play coupled with overhead smashes sent Apirila off her rhythm during the first 10 points of the first game. Failing to rally back swiftly found her being forced into a deuce by the Vietnamese. It was merely an unforced error of striking into the net by the Vietnamese which landed the first game to the Indonesian.
The second game saw both players battling it out neck-to-neck, point-for-point. The sauna-like conditions of the DBL Arena was evidently taking its toll on both players as their service point switched hands at 9-9, 10-10, 11-11 for quite some time. The Indonesian cracked the Vietnamese temperament and took the remaining points after levelling the score at 17-17 to win the match 21-18 in under 50 minutes.
On the adjacent court, the All-Star Europe team scored their first point with a victory in the woman’s singles. Spain’s Carolina Marin defeated Xing Aiying 21-12, 21-12 in 30 minutes. The men’s singles tie between Ireland’s Scott Evans and Ashton Chen Yong Zhao saw the longest match play of the day as it stretched past the hour mark.
The much fancied Evans found himself up against a challenge of sorts against the younger Singaporean, losing the first game 18-21. In the second, Evans proved his mettle and experience when he pulled off a closely fought 21-17 victory. The third game between the two saw rallies and smashes and it ended with determination bring down an experienced Evans at 19-21.
In the mixed doubles tie, Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork were at losing end once again when pitted against Singapore’s Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Vanessa Neo Yu Yan.
“We lost to them last year, and we felt we came better prepared for this year’s tournament,” Roberston said after their 16-21, 29-30 defeat.
“The second game was definitely a rally of sorts and they were relentless.”
The Russian men’s pair of Ivan Sozonov and Vladimir Ivanov also found themselves against a determined Singapore pair of Liu Yi and Terry Yeo Zhao Jiang. The three-game thriller ended 21-17, 16-21, 19-21, enabling the Singapore squad to pull off a 3-1 victory in their opening tie of the Axiata Cup.
“The men’s Russian pair only arrived early today after a long flight but were able to put up a good fight to stretch the match to three games,”Evans said.
Axiata Cup (Day 1) Results: Indonesia bt Vietnam 4-0; Singapore bt All-Star Europe 3-1
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