Sat, 04 Nov 2000

Confidence helps Rony oust seeded Wong

JAKARTA (JP): Confidence can be a very powerful weapon for a shuttler facing off against a higher-ranked opponent.

Indonesia's Rony Agustinus proved this on Friday, with his self-confidence raising the level of his play to the point where he was able to overcome second seed Wong Choon Hann of Malaysia.

"I was sure that I would win the match. If I didn't have such confidence, I wouldn't win any of my matches," he said during a postmatch media conference.

"I'm also thinking about winning the event, although it's possible that I may not be the champion at all. After all, being sure about yourself is the most important thing," he said.

Rony said he was happy with his victory over Wong, as it settled a score with the Malaysian.

"It improves my head-to-head record against Wong to one and two. Earlier, he beat me at the 1999 Bandar Seri Begawan SEA Games and the 1998 Malaysian Open," he said.

Born in Jakarta on Oct. 7, 1978, Rony began to play badminton at the age of six and is currently a member of the Suryanaga Gudang Garam badminton club. His best finish to date was the semifinals at the 1998 French Open and the 1999 Sea Games.

When asked how he handled Wong, Rony said he took the initiative and attacked first, before Wong could go on the offensive.

"I had to attack him first aggressively, although I'm more of a defensive player. But I had no other choice than to press my game," he said.

"In the first game, I was kind of lulled by Wong's play because I haven't met him for quite a long time now. Once I got in tune, I started to attack," he said.

He also noted that Wong did not seem to be at the top of his game, not playing like the event's second seed.

"Wong had to live up to his status as a seeded shuttler, which was more or less a burden for him. On the other hand, I had nothing to lose, so I was able to play more freely.

"For me, my initial target was only to play my best and not to let down my coaches with my performance," he said.

Rony is slated to meet compatriot Marleve Mainaky in the semifinals, and again showed that confidence that has carried him this far.

"I will continue with my offensive play against Marleve. I have never met him in an event, only in training. But you can't go by the results of practice sessions to judge your opponent. There's a very big difference," he said.

"I'm sure I can beat Marleve, but let's see tomorrow," Rony added with a smile. (nvn)