Hyderabad: Although the Indonesian men’s team has qualified for the Thomas Cup, they did not take Japan lightly in Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) final on Sunday. Both teams were neck and neck throughout the tie until Indonesia overcame Japan in an epic decisive fifth match to seal a 3-2 win.
With intention to ensure young Indonesian players have enough exposures to huge tournament and to give them an international experience, Indonesia rested their best men’s singles player World No. 10 Tommy Sugiarto, and let 21-year-old Ihsan Maulana Mustofa to play the first men’s singles.
Nevertheless, with World No. 4 Kento Momota of Japan proving to be too strong, Mustofa went down to the Japanese 17-21, 7-21.
In the first men’s’ doubles match that followed, Indonesia had also replaced the World No. 2 pairs with World No. 10 Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi. Rexy Mainaky, head coach of the Badminton Association of Indonesia told reporters that the move was intended to build confident and to give more responsibility to Pratama/Suwardi, and surely enough, the Indonesian pair didn’t disappoint.
Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi won the men’s doubles thriller, edging Japan’s World No. 6 pair Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa 22-20, 14-21, 21-17 to level the score to 1-1.
Ginting Anthony then put Indonesia within touching distance of their Badminton Asia Team Championships trophy as he earn a straight-set triumph over Japan’s Sho Sasaki 22-20, 21-19 in 47 minutes to give Indonesia a 2-1 advantage.
Japan’s second men’s doubles pair Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda had to dig into their deepest physical and mental reserves to help their team battled back from the verge of defeat to levelled it up at 2-2 against Indonesia by defeating Berry Angriawan/Ryan Agung Saputra 21-16,21-15.
In such a dramatic final that went down to the wire, Indonesian youngster Jonatan Christie was under enormous pressure to win his match against Kenta Nishimoto of Japan in the third men’s singles. Christie capped off an incredible match when his team needed him the most, fighting from one set down to beat a valiant Nishimoto 14-21, 21-19, 21-13 to clinch the BATC men’s team title for Indonesia.
In the women’s team final, China came back from 0-2 deficit to beat Japan 3-2 and took home the BATC women’s team title.