AS THE only player in the Indonesia squad who has played in a Thomas Cup final before, former Olympic and world champion Taufik Hidayat is about to experience a sense of deja vu all over again.
The Indonesian golden boy now feels a place in the final on Sunday is strongly within Indonesia's reach after a favourable draw for the knockout stages.
However, he also reminded his team not to take things for granted, especially after what happened to Malaysia who stumbled to a 2-3 defeat by Japan in a group tie on Tuesday.
Yesterday, Taufik led Indonesia to book their place in the semi-finals with a 3-0 win over India and they will be up against Japan tomorrow.
Taufik said that it was a delirious feeling for him on learning the outcome of the draw from the newspapers early yesterday.
“I feel very comfortable with our position. We have been placed in a relatively easier bottom half of the draw and I believe our chances of reaching the final are very good. In the other half of the draw, China remain the team to beat,” he said.
Indonesia have not played in a final since they last lifted the Cup in Guangzhou in 2002 with a 3-2 win over Malaysia. They lost in the semi-finals in the next three editions of the biennial championships.
“My team-mates have never experienced playing in a Thomas Cup final and I certainly feel old. I hope our team can get past the semi-finals,” said Taufik.
“The thought of playing against Japan in the semi-finals is a more pleasant feeling than having to deal with China or Malaysia.
“It is an advantage but we have seen how Japan came back strongly to stun Malaysia. It's a lesson to us not to take them lightly,” he added.
In the quarter-final tie against India yesterday, Taufik battled hard to beat Kashyap Parupalli for the second time in three days. He won 21-12, 10-21, 21-17 in 61 minutes to secure the first point for Indonesia.
It was smooth sailing for Indonesia after that as Olympic champions Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan beat Sanave Thomas-Akshay Dewalkar 21-16, 21-17 and Simon Santoso brushed aside Arvind Bhatt 21-8, 21-10 to seal the tie.