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09/04/2001: Suprianto and Timur put an end to Indonesia’s mixed double title drought

It had been quite a while that the red and white flag of the Indonesian nation was flying above the others in the mixed doubles category. This might have been why the staff decided to change teams, even after Tri Kusharyanto and Minarti Timur had won the Olympic silver medal. This 20th Yonex Japan Open was to prove them right. A new team has emerged from Jakarta’s training Center : Minarti Timur and Bambang Suprianto.

Unseeded in this event, they took each game at the time, building up confidence and precision in their game. In the final, they were facing another new pair, unseeded as well : the Chinese Liu Yong - former partner of Ge Fei - and young Cheng Jiao, a talented new player. The Japan Open probably brought good memories to Liu Yong, who had won the event in 1999 and 2000 with Ge Fei.

And the first part of the match seemed like it was leading to a quick victory for the Indonesians. Leading 15/6 - 14/8 thanks to a very offensive play from behind from Suprianto, added with Timur’s smart net play, the Chinese got back into the game.

Little by little, they caught up and Suprianto started to feel more and more pressure, missing fairly easy shots. Liu’s back hand drives and some fantastic play from Cheng at the net saved the Chinese team from losing on four occasions before catching up 14/14.

The suspense was at its peak and the Indonesians weren’t able to conclude, losing 17/14 on another set of attacks by the Chinese. But the Indonesians got right into the third game with the firm intention to make it quick. They changed side at 8/0, and won 15/5.

A big success for Indonesia, who placed three teams in the last eight : this is good news for the coming Surdiman Cup - Team mixed World Championships in May. This event was also the first time the public could see Cheng Jiao - Liu Yong’s new partner. A tough challenge for the young Chinese who will have to walk on the path of a very talented Ge Fei who retired at the end of last year.

If China let go with the men and mixed double, one event could not escape them : the ladies doubles where the final opposed two teams from China. It has become a habit for a Chinese ladies double to win here in Tokyo, as the red and yellow flag has been flying high for 5 years. But yesterday, it wasn’t the favourites - world number one Yang and Huang who took the title. Gao Ling and Huang Sui defeated their compatriots in just two games.

After the retirement from Ge Fei and Gu Jun - undisputed winners of all major titles since 1996, the door was open to a new leader in the event. Yang and Huang had been the first to claim the position, but they are now threatened by few other Chinese pairs, which is bad news for all other nations.

Gao and Huang won 15/13 - 15/10 in a close match but remained humble about their victory : -the next goal after this victory ? Win our next match- said Gao with her usual sense of humour.

Results :
Suprianto/Timur (INA) bt Liu/Cheng (CHN) : 15/6 - 14/17 - 15/5
Huang/Gao (CHN) bt Yang/Huang (CHN) : 15/13 - 15/10

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