07/04/2001: Budiarto and Wijaya put on a 'two-man' show in Tokyo
One step away from winning another title for Indonesia's Sigit Budiarto and Candra Wijaya. What was the best men's double back in 1997 is now ready to take the number one spot again, after defeating Malaysians Chan and Chew in the 5 stars Japan Open Semi-final.
In two hard fought games - much more than the score shows, Budiarto and Wijaya played at their best level, against an evenly acrobatic pair, which provided with some incredible rallies, all four men going up high in the air one after the other, or placing some incredible defence shots. Budiarto's legendary reflexes impressed the public of Yoyogi's stadium. "It is a reflex for me to pull such strange shots, because I do it all the time while training" says Budiarto in a laugh.
The Indonesian had warned every one few months ago when they reunited in the victory of the Dutch Open, that they were willing to take back their number one spot. And with what they showed on court today, it could happen as soon as Seville in May.
Yet both players take one step at the time, and concentrate on the final, which promises to be a tough one : the only remaining players from Denmark showed a high level of play today against Gunawan and Heryanto. Both teams had met earlier in March and the Indonesians had given a lesson of badminton to Paaske and Lundgaard in the quarter finals of the All England. Not this time, as the Danes kept cleverly the shuttle a net level to prevent their opponents to keep the attack, which is what they do best.
In the third game, the Danes moved into the court, a little closer to the net and started playing brilliantly with some fairly powerful smashes from Lundgaard, which led the Danes to a final victory of 6/15 - 15/7 - 15/10.
Indonesia could smile again later on in the day, when one of their mixed doubles pair made it to the final as well. Whidianto and Marissa had lost to a new but very strong pair from China, Liu Yong and Cheng Jiao fairly easily, but Bambang Suprianto and Minarti Timur lifted up the team spirit by beating the Olympic Champion Gao Ling and Zhang Jun, for one of the best matches of the day.
Bambang's super smashes while shouting made the show even more fun to the public, which was impressed by the level of this event. Not a minute of rest for all four players, who had to keep concentrated through out the all match, even when the points seemed over, a last minute reflex often brought back the shuttle in. But at this little game, Suprianto and Timur were the best. Minarti Timur had been beaten by the very same opponent in Sydney's final with Try Kusharyanto and could taste the sweetness of revenge.
Gao Ling might be disappointed, but she will have another shot at victory, as she's still on course for the title in the ladies doubles. She and partner Huang Sui gave a lesson to Taipei's Chien and Cheng (who is only a Junior) in just over 20 minutes. They will play world number one Yang and Huang in the final for an expected all -Chinese affair.
Paaske/Lundgaard (DEN) bt Gunawan/Heryanto (INA) : 6/15 - 15/7 - 15/10
Budiarto/Wijaya (INA) bt Chew/Chan (MAS) : 15/8 - 15/11
Gao/Huang (CHN) bt Chien/Cheng (TPE) : 15/3 - 15/2
Yang/Huang (CHN) bt Wei/Zhang (CHN) : 15/5 - 15/12
Liu/Cheng (CHN) bt Widhianto/Marisse (INA) : 15/4 - 15/8
Suprianto/Timur (INA) bt Gao/Zhang (CHN) : 15/13 - 5/15 - 15/10