A position change for men’s doubles pair Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan did not shake off their status as world No. 1 after they won their first two matches at the Suwon Asia Championship in South Korea.
The pair had been training in different positions in the past weeks, with Kido, still recovering from a knee injury, now playing in front and Hendra honing his skills as a back player.
The change was drawn up around Kido’s knee injury. Kido is a back player renowned for his jumping smashes, the direction of which are often unpredictable, which effectively contribute to points.
“Although Hendra doesn’t jump that much, he has the same powerful smashes,” said Sigit Pamungkas, the men’s doubles coach.
After a grueling second-round match, Kido/Hendra defeated China’s Tao Jiaming and Sun Junjie 21-15, 7-21, 22-20 in 39 minutes Thursday.
“I still feel a bit awkward, though,” Kido said after the win.
“The opposition’s defense was tough. In the second set, our physical condition dropped slightly,” he said of the lost second set.
They next face Taiwanese sixth seeds Cheng Hung Ling and Lin Yu Lang on Friday. In the first round, they defeated Japanese pair Komiyama Hajime and Hirobe Yoshiteru, also three sets 21-12, 17-21, 21-10.
Kido and Hendra are the only men’s doubles team fielded by the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) for the April 7-12 championship. The team’s other players are currently preparing for the upcoming Sudirman Cup in May.
“The Asia Championship is their chance to get the feel of a championship atmosphere before the upcoming Sudirman Cup, and also a chance to evaluate the new formation strategy,” Sigit said.
Due to the injury, the pair have been absent from championship events for the past month.
Meanwhile, fifth seed Indonesian mixed doubles pair Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa were stopped in the second round by Koreans Kim Ki Jung and Eom Hye Won 21-12, 23-21 in only 22 minutes. They had previously defeated Vietnam’s Pham Cao Hieu and Nguyen Thi Sen in a rubber set match in the first round.