Macau. The Indonesian men’s and women’s teams had an easy time in their openers at the Thomas and Uber Cup Asia zone qualifying round on Monday.
The women’s team thumped lowly Sri Lanka 5-0 in an Uber Cup Group Y match, while the men’s team routed host Macau 5-0 in their Thomas Cup Group B match at the Macau Forum.
“They were like warm-up matches for us,” said the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) head of athlete development, Hadi Nazri.
“However, we decided to field all of our best players because we wanted them to get a chance to adapt to the wind drift and lighting in the stadium.”
Maria Febe Kusumastuti got the women started with a 21-14, 21-8 victory over Renu Chandrika Hettiarachchige.
Lindaweni Fanetri made it 2-0 as she raced past Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa 21-9, 21-8 in just 26 minutes, before Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari put the match out of reach with a 21-16, 21-8 win over Hettiarachchige and Nadeesha Gayanthi in the doubles.
Belaetrix Manuputi didn’t disappoint in her Uber Cup debut as the world No. 83 beat Lekha Shehani 21-17, 21-11.
“I was very nervous at the start because that was my very first time playing for the national team,” 23-year-old Belaetrix said after winning her match in 29 minutes, the longest in the ties.
“I was with the national team in the SEA [Southeast Asian] Games last year but I didn’t even play a game.”
Belaetrix said that it was a totally new experience for her, even though she isn’t new to international tournament play.
“All the national team coaches and PBSI officials were watching me throughout the match and that really gave me a chill,” she said. “However, I just told myself to treat the match like a training session and it worked out well for me.”
Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Anneke Feinya Agustin completed the rout with a 21-9, 21-11 defeat of Hendahewa and Kavindi Ishandika Sirimannage in the second double’s match.
In the other Group Y match, Thailand had no trouble with Kazakhstan, winning 5-0.
Indonesia will meet Kazakhstan today while Sri Lanka will take on Thailand.
In the men’s event, Simon Santoso got Indonesia off to a quick start with a 21-5, 21-6 win over Kin Fai Leong.
Men’s double team Bona Septano and Mohammad Ahsan then cruised to a 21-10, 21-12 win over Chi Man Lam and Kin before Taufik Hidayat made it 3-0 with a 21-7, 21-6 defeat of Ion Weng Lo.
“I wasn’t playing at my best but that was a good warm-up for me,” Taufik said.
Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Hendra Aprida Gunawan beat Io Keng Iao and Chi Chong Wong 21-4, 21-7 in the second doubles match, and Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka finished the rout with a 21-7, 21-9 win over Chi Chong Ng.
Reigning Thomas Cup champion China recovered from a match down to beat Vietnam 4-1 in Group A.
China went 1-0 down after Chen Long fell 21-15, 21-12 to Nguyen Tien Minh, but the eight-time winner fought back and reeled off the next four matches.
China didn’t have to play in the qualifiers because it received an automatic berth as the host of the Thomas and Uber Cup finals, which will take place in Wuhan on May 20-27.
However, because shuttlers can earn points to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, China opted to compete in Macau.
Japan and Thailand had 5-0 wins in their Group C openers against Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka, respectively, and South Korea beat Hong Kong 5-0 in Group D.
The top two finishers in each of the four groups in the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup will qualify for the quarterfinals. The top five men’s teams and top four women’s teams will go to Wuhan.