Nova and Liliyana Take Super Series Victory in Malaysia


Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir matched their Super Series victory total from 2008 on Sunday, but this one may have been just that much sweeter.

Indonesia’s top mixed doubles pair exacted a measure of revenge against their bogey team, beating South Korea’s Lee Yong Dae and Lee Hyo Jung 21-14, 21-19 in the Malaysian Open Super Series final at Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

Nova and Liliyana lost to the Korean duo in the mixed doubles final at the Beijing Olympics, settling for silver on their country’s Independence Day. The Lees had won their previous three matches against the Indonesians until Sunday.

Nova said he and Liliyana went into the match with a good strategy.

“We tried constantly to take control of the match from the first game and did not let them play hard. The strategy worked,” Nova told the Jakarta Globe by text message.

After a tight opening set in which they were locked at 12, the Indonesians pulled ahead with ease to win 21-14. The second set was just as close, but Nova and Liliyana were always a step ahead, clinching the tie 21-19 when Hyo Jung sent her return into the net to end the 32-minute

‘We tried constantly to take control of the match from the first game’

Nova Widianto,
on the winning strategy
in the Malaysian Open

“It will give us more confidence when competing in future tournaments,” Nova said.

Their victory was Indonesia’s only championship of the evening, though.

Unseeded men’s pair Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Hendra Aprida Gunawan stretched the second-seeded duo of Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung to the limit before falling to the Koreans 18-21, 21-14, 21-14 in the final.

Despite losing the first game, the Koreans never panicked and upped the pace to take the victory in 49 minutes.

“Our defense was very good in the second game, and that was the difference in the end,” Jung told Agence France-Presse.

Alvent and Hendra won a surprise finals berth when they upset top seeds Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan 10-21, 25-23, 21-10 in Saturday’s semifinals. Three of Indonesia’s six men’s doubles entries reached the quarterfinals.

In the women’s doubles, Shendy Puspa Irawati and Meiliana Jauhari fell one match short of the final, losing 21-10, 21-15 to China’s Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen in the semifinals. Shendy and Meiliana reached the semis after beating third-seeded Liliyana and Vita Marissa 21-14, 18-21, 21-15 in the quarterfinals.

The Chinese pair lost 21-15, 21-12 in the final to Lee Hyo Jung and Lee Kyung Won of South Korea.

Men’s singles second seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro suffered a shock 21-15, 22-20 loss to unseeded Hsieh Yu Hsin of Taiwan in the quarterfinals, and No. 8 seed Simon Santoso could not derail top-seeded Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, falling 21-15, 16-21, 21-11 in the quarterfinals.

The Malaysian claimed his home championship by beating Korea’s Park Sung Hwan 21-14, 21-13 in just
39 minutes.

None of Indonesia’s women’s singles entries made it to the weekend, with both Adrianti Firdasari and Pia Zebadiah Bernadet losing in the second round. Adrianti fell to fourth-seeded Pi Hongyan of France, and Pia lost to Singaporean qualifier Zhang Beiwen.

Second-seeded Tine Rasmussen of Denmark earned every bit of her $15,000 winner’s check.

She overcame No. 3 seed Chen Wang of Hong Kong 21-15, 17-21, 21-12 in the semifinals before winning a 56-minute marathon final 21-17, 15-21, 21-16 against Hong Kong’s Zhou Mi, the No. 1 seed.


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