Mon, 14 Mar 2005

Danes get the better of Luluk/Alven in All-England Bruce Emond, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia's second seeded men's doubles pairing of Luluk Hadiyanto and Alven Yulianto let a final game lead slip away in losing to Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen of Denmark at the All- England championships on Saturday.

Luluk and Alven, who beat the Danes last November in the Singapore Open semis, failed to repeat this time in a tense 12- 15, 15-6, 10-15 last four encounter before a record crowd of 20,000 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.

"We played too cautiously when ahead 10-6 in the third game," Luluk said by phone from Birmingham after the match. "We wanted to win so much, but I didn't play all out when ahead. We're disappointed, and hopefully we can learn a lot from this."

Facing Danes on court 3 proved unlucky for Indonesia on Saturday. Indonesia's final hopes in the mixed doubles, fifth seeded Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir of Indonesia, followed their compatriots in losing 11-15, 11-15 to the giant-killing Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Ritter Juhl despite leading in the first game.

Luluk and Alven -- who many have tipped to be the top doubles pair of 2005 after their strong finish to 2004 -- had seemed to have the measure of their opponents through most of the match.

In the first game, they jumped out to a 5-1 lead, before the Danes leveled at six all. However, Luluk and Alven came back to 12-9 with the game within their grasp. Again, they suffered a lapse in concentration, and the Danes won six points in a row for the game.

It seemed a temporary setback, as the Indonesians took the second game comfortably.

They stayed in command in the decisive third game, getting to 10-6 when they seized up. At 10 all, service changed hands several times before Rasmussen and Pesske took a point.

The Indonesians became increasingly desperate, illustrated by a misunderstanding at 10-13 as both men were wrong-footed as the shuttlecock landed in the middle of the court.

Alven agreed they played into the hands of the more experienced Danes.

"We changed our playing style because of the pressure, hitting a lot of unforced errors. They played like they had nothing to lose."

In men's singles semifinal action on Saturday, 2002 All- England winner Hong Chen of China beat seventh seed Wei Chong Lee of Malaysia 15-13, 15-10.

Top seeded Zhang Ning of China overcame the challenge of Japan's Eriko Hirose 11-4, 9-11, 11-1 to reach the final.