Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir are closing in on their second Super Series title of the year. And they’re doing it with relative ease.
The top-seeded Indonesian pair overwhelmed Poland’s Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk 21-17, 21-8 in a mixed doubles quarterfinal match in the Singapore Super Series, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday.
In a late match, the women’s unseeded tandem of Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii upset top-ranked Chin Eei Hui and Wong Pei Tty of Malaysia 17-21, 21-16, 21-19.
It was another lopsided win for Nova and Lilyana, who logged only 26 minutes on the court, on the same day countryman Sony Dwi Kuncoro lost to an unseeded South Korean in men’s singles.
Sony, seeded third, fell 21-19, 21-15 to Park Sung Hwan, extending Indonesia’s misery in singles events.
“[The match] was a bit tight in the first set because we were still trying to find Poland’s weaknesses,” Nova said in a text message to the Jakarta Globe. “It took a while for us to get adjusted, but when we did, we didn’t let up.”
Nova and Lilyana don’t think the run to the championship — potentially just the second for Indonesia in the Super Series this year — will be all easy. They will next take on third seeds Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen of China, who defeated No. 5 Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark 21-19, 17-21, 21-16.
Nova said on Friday that he expected China to advance. “We won’t play fast against [Xie and Zhang] because they’re a quicker team, which is typical of Chinese doubles players,” he said.
“What we want to do is take them out of their rhythm and dictate the tempo.”
Nova and Lilyana are the only Indonesians to win a Super Series title this year, bagging the mixed doubles trophy in the season opener in Malaysia.
Sony, who defeated Park in the recent Sudirman Cup, followed fellow Indonesian Simon Santoso to the exit. With Adrianti Firdasari’s 21-18, 17-21, 21-17 loss to India’s Saina Nehwal in women’s singles on Thursday, that leaves the country without a singles player in the semifinals.
Indonesia’s hopes now fall on its doubles players.
The men’s pair of Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan hope to join Nova and Lilyana, and Nitya and Gresyia in the next round.
Markis and Hendra were up against Singapore’s Hendri Kurniawan Saputra and Hendra Wijaya on Thursday in a match that finished after press time.
The biggest upset of the tournament was orchestrated by Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh, who ousted world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia 24-22, 20-22, 21-19 on Thursday.
“My preparations for the tournament were not good and I played badly, so I have to accept the result,” Lee told Reuters.
The race to the men’s championship became wide open after the top three seeds were shown the door in the quarterfinals.
Peter Gade of Denmark, the second seed, was ousted 21-19, 16-21, 21-13 by Indian qualifier Anup Sridhar. Badminton