Sat, 15 Jan 2000

RI books final berth in men's doubles in Korea

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia has earned a place in the men's doubles semifinal and mixed doubles final in the 2000 Samsung Korea Open at Hanra gymnasium in Cheju island, South Korea.

The veteran pair of Ricky Ahmad Subagja and Rexy Mainaky proved they can still be dangerous to their juniors, following a draining 12-15, 15-11, 15-6 victory over senior Danish pair of Jens Eriksen and Jesper Larsen in the quarterfinals on Friday.

In the semifinal on Saturday, Ricky and Rexy, who were the 1996 Olympic Games' gold medalists, will meet junior countrymen Flandi Limpele and Eng Hian. Flandi and Eng Hian easily defeated the Malaysian pair of Chan Chong Ming and Jeremy Gan 15-13, 15-4.

Another Indonesian pair, Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan, extinguished Malaysia's hope of the men's double title in the US$250,000 six-star event after they managed to overcome Rosman A. Razak and Chew Choon Eng 15-6, 15-6.

Candra and Tony will challenge host pair Lee Dong-soo and Yoo Yong-sung.

The success story was extended in the mixed doubles event with the Indonesian long-time partnering of Tri Kusharyanto and Minarti Timur. They cruised to the final after defeating Chris Bruil and Erica Van den Heuvel from the Netherlands 15-10, 15-11 on Thursday.

On Saturday they will face the world runners-up from the host country, Kim Dong-moon and Ra Kyung-min, who ousted Danish pair Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen on Friday.

Team manager Hery I. Pierngadi said Tri and Minarti would face a tough challenge from the South Koreans.

"Tri and Minarti have not won against the South Koreans and Kim and Ra will enjoy support from the locals. But I hope that our players can win at least one set, because they have never won in more than two sets against Kim and Ra," he said.

Hery, who is also the men's doubles coach, said that Candra and Tony would find it easy to beat the South Korean pair, given their long winning record against Lee and Yoo in their previous meets.

However, he said, Candra and Tony should be aware of bias officiating by the Koreans.

"Candra and Tony have a long record of winning against Lee and Yoo. But we are now playing in South Korea, so they have to be careful of the bias judging from the host officials. The referees often call our players' services as faults," he said.

He recalled that Ricky and Rexy had a very tough game after they lost the first set. However, they benefited from their experiences and changed their strategy in the second set.

"The Danish pair continuously attacked Ricky during the first set and gained points to claim the set. But Ricky strengthened his defense and the pairs intensified their attacks. The game became very tight, especially when the Danish pair lessened their deficit to 10-11 in the second set," he said.

Commenting on the semifinal match, Eng Hian expressed hope that he and Flandi could overcome Ricky and Rexy to retain their title.

"We really want to win. We are ready to face Ricky and Rexy. We won the title last year, beating Eriksen and Larsen in the final," he said.

The ladies side has to come home empty handed after the remaining ladies doubles pair of Etty Tantri and Cynthia Tuwankotta bowed out 9-15, 15-14, 13-15 to Ann Jorgensen and Majken Vange of Denmark in the women's doubles final on Friday. (ivy)