Sat, 13 Aug 1994

Joko outlasts Alan as Indonesia Open turns up the heat

By Hidayat Jati

YOGYAKARTA (JP): Top seed Joko Suprianto survived a battle of champions here yesterday as he edged out Olympic gold medalist and title holder Alan Budikusuma to earn a semifinal berth in the Indonesia Open badminton championships.

The hard-earned 9-15, 15-4, 18-14 victory put another notch in world champion Joko's belt.

Playing before hundreds of rabid local fans at the cozy Among Raga sports hall, the Indonesian top flights matched each other stroke for stroke, but determination pulled Joko through the match which lasted more than an hour.

Joko looked outclassed in the opening set, before having his national squad teammate on the run throughout the next two.

Alan, who failed to make his third successive Thomas Cup finals appearance last May, conserved his energy in the second set, hoping to rally in the third.

He trailed 5-9 in the decider, courtesy of Joko's devastating smashes, before taking the lead at 12-11.

Joko, however, leveled the tie at 13-13. A game but frustrated Alan had no answers for Joko's never-say-die performance.

Earlier in the day, second-seeded men's singles Hariyanto Arbi advanced to the semifinals due to his opponent's injury, while joint fifth-eighth women's singles Yuni Kartika survived an intense three-setter during a long and dramatic day at the much livelier badminton event.

Yesterday was hell for the players -- but heaven for badminton fans and journalists -- since players had to play twice to advance to today's semifinal round.

The 900-strong fans at the stadium were in hog heaven, hypnotized by the long, fast rallies in the match between Hariyanto and Hendrawan, a rookie from the junior national team.

When Hariyanto, who jumped and dove all over the place, went down 9-15 in the first set, the excited shrieking fans attempted to light a fire in him.


Things looked little better for Hariyanto, recent champion of the World Cup in Ho Chi Minh City, in the second set. Hendrawan, playing like a big league shuttler, jumped out to a quick 13-7 lead.

However, Hariyanto - the fighter that he is - refused to give up and fought stubbornly, chasing the bullet-like shuttlecocks acrobatically.

The fans cheering clearly affected Hendrawan as he threw his racket in disgust after missing so many opportunities. Soon thereafter, while trailing by two points during the deuce, Hendrawan gave up due to a severe cramp.

Earlier in the afternoon Hariyanto had neutralized Joreon Van Dijk in a smooth 15-9, 15-7 win.

Meanwhile, Yuni Kartika, one of Indonesia's Uber Cup heroines, survived a three-set battle of nerves by neutralizing the skillful dropshots of veteran Tan Jiuhong of China 11-6, 5-11, 11-8.

Yuni appeared nervous throughout and showed poor anticipation. However, when Tan netted match point, Yuni raised her arms in triumph to the delight of the fans and teammates who cheered her all the way.

"Yes, I was very nervous," she conceded afterwards. "Tan is a very difficult enemy."

Results (x-denotes seed):

Men's singles: 2-Hariyanto Arbi (Ina) bt Hendrawan (Ina) 9-15, 15-14, 2-0 ret 9/16-Fung Permadi (Ina) bt 9/16-Sompol Kukasemkij (Tha) 15-4, 15-4

Women's singles: 2-Bang Soo-hyun (Kor) bt Mia Audina (Ina) 11-8, 11-3 5/8-Yuni Kartika (Ina) bt Tan Jiuhong (Chn) 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 1-Susi Susanti (Ina) bt Ika Henny (Ina) 11-6, 11-5

Women's doubles: 3/4-Elisa/Zelin Resiana (Ina) bt 5/8-Qin Yongchun/Tang Yongshu (Chn) 15-5, 15-12 1-Chong Soo-young/Gil Young-ah (Kor) bt Sarwendah/Minarti Timur (Ina) 18-14, 15-10.