Photo credit: Tang Shi
Indonesian fans had been queuing up at the ticket booths since 5 AM local time in Jakarta to secure themselves one of the 800 still available tickets for the men’s team final between Indonesia and China. Just half an hour after opening time at 8 AM all tickets were sold out. A total of 7,000 spectators were ready for the big clash with their local heroes.
At the Asian Games 2014 Indonesia was second seeded but disappointed and lost the quarterfinal. This year the Indonesian men played the final on their home ground when they were fighting for gold with China who lost the final in 2014. Both teams were hungering for gold.
Indonesia started the final with full support from the packed Istora Senayan arena in Jakarta. Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, ranked 12 in the world, was stunning in first game against silver medalist from the World Championships, Shi Yuqi, and he managed to win the game 21-14. The Indonesian crowd smelled a surprise on the way.
Ginting was even close to winning second game as well in the match that lasted more than one and a half hour total. However, the Chinese forced the match into a third decisive game as he bagged second game 23-21.
In a very close third game it still smelled like Indonesian victory but at 18-18 Anthony Ginting was shown the yellow card for delaying the game. It turned out he had severe cramps and he needed to receive medical treatment. He didn’t want to give up though and he kept on fighting but it was obvious that his movement was very unsteady. At the very close score of 21-20 to Shi Yuqi it was over after 92 minutes. The 21-year old Indonesian had to retire and China was leading 1-0. Shi Yuqi wasn’t happy with his win though; he doesn’t like winning because his opponent gets injured, and the Chinese wished Ginting a speedy recovery immediately after the match.
Solid statistics for Indonesian duo
Down 0-1 it was up to Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo to level the score of the tie again. It wasn’t necessarily going to be easy though; on the other side of the net were the recently crowned World Champions, Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen. The Indonesian duo did however have a solid 6-1 lead head-to-head before the match so until now they have been superior to Li and Liu so far.
And superior was also the word today. It took no more than 32 minutes to level the score to 1-1 as Gideon and Sukamuljo won in straight games 21-17 21-18. It was a match with very fast rallies. Each point took an average of only 24.94 seconds – nearly twice as fast as the single between Shi Yuqi and Anthony Ginting. Despite only needing two games to win the match, Gideon expressed to Indonesian medias that it was a tight, exciting and good match.
Long matches prevail
In another insanely long match of 94 minutes, Chen Long and Jonatan Christie were fighting to bring their team in the lead. The Chinese had won all three previous encounters between the two but Christie had something extra in the bags today.
Jonatan Christie won first game 21-19 and was chasing his first ever win at a very welcome moment against the reigning Olympic Champion. Most of the 7,000 spectators were cheering for the Indonesian but little did it help as Chen Long won second game 21-16. In third game it could go either way as it was yet another close game. With 21-18 it was the Chinese who could celebrate though. Chen Long won the extremely long match and China was leading 2-1.
Uphill for the host nation
Now it was uphill for the Indonesian men. Their second double did have a good statistic against their opponents though; Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto had won both previous matches against Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan who they had to prevent from bringing the gold to China.
And yet again we witnessed a long and close match in three games. After 21-18 to the Chinese and 21-17 to the Indonesian, a third decisive game should settle the match. After 70 minutes of playing – and making the four matches of the tie last an average of 72 minutes each – once again it was the Chinese who could celebrate. Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan won third game 21-18 and China won the final 3-1.
China takes the Asian Games gold again while host nation Indonesia must settle for silver.
Big congratulations to China!
Shi Yuqi vs. Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 14-21 23-21 21-20 (retired)
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo vs. Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen 21-17 21-18
Chen Long vs. Jonatan Christie 19-21 21-16 21-18
Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan vs. Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto 21-18 17-21 21-18
Lin Dan vs. Ihsan Maulana Mustofa (not played)
Bronze: Japan and Chinese Taipei