Photo credit: Tang Shi
Indonesia celebrated its national day one day before the Asian Games were officially inaugurated and the celebrations are surely still going on. Today there were Indonesians in both men’s double semifinals. They surely delivered as hoped.
The first Indonesians on court were up against some tough opponents. Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto, ranked 9 in the world, had the pleasure of the World Champions from China, Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen. Surely the two Chinese were favorites.
Alfian and Ardianto performed very well in first game though and made it impossible for the World Champions to develop their game. In just a quarter of an hour the Indonesian had bagged first game 21-14 and they looked very hungry for more.
Unfortunately – for the local heroes – Li and Liu were changed in second game. They were leading in the beginning of the game but Alfian and Ardianto leveled the game at 11-11 and the two pairs followed each other to 19-19. The Indonesians were just two points from the final – but the Chinese forced the match into a third game with 21-19.
In third game Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto regained control of the game and at 16-10 it looked like success for the host nation. Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen never came back and the Indonesians are ready for the final with 21-13 in the decisive game. The party can continue…
Will we get an all-Indonesian final?
Now it was up to the top seeded Minions, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, to secure the host nation an all-Indonesian final. The two were battling with Lee Jhe-Huei and Lee Yang from Chinese Taipei for a spot in the final.
The match was nearly a true copy of the first men’s double semifinal. Gideon and Sukamuljo started off like rockets in first game, which they bagged 21-15 in just 12 minutes. In second game Lee and Lee came back – just like Li and Liu against Alfian and Ardianto – and on their third game point they won second game 22-20. Once again we needed three games to find the finalists.
Also here, once again, things went like they did in the first semifinal. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo were in control all the way and the many thousand Indonesian spectators, and the millions of fans who were watching the matches on TV, could start preparing for a big party tomorrow. The Minions won 21-12 and made sure we will see an all-Indonesian final in men’s double – for the first time since 1974!
Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, Indonesia vs. Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen, China 21-14 19-21 21-13 (50 min)
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, Indonesia vs. Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang, Chinese Taipei 21-15 20-22 21-12 (45 min)
And the final in 1974:
Tjun Tjun/Johan Wahjudi, Indonesia vs. Christian Hadinata/Ade Chandra, Indonesia 15-9 15-7