Mon, 17 Sep 2001

Suwandi injured as RI loses out in tennis golds

By Novan Iman Santosa

KUALA LUMPUR (JP): Thailand denied Indonesia a chance of producing a clean sweep in the tennis competition at the 21st Southeast Asian Games after winning both the men's singles and doubles titles on Sunday.

Danai Udomchoke avenged his defeat in the men's team final on Wednesday with his victory over Indonesian opponent Suwandi in the men's singles final. The Thai overwhelmed Suwandi, who was fighting a stomach injury, with an easy 6-3, 6-1 win.

Team manager Aga Soemarno said a doctor from the organizing committee had recommended that Suwandi forfeit the final after he strained his left stomach muscle.

"The doctor asked Suwandi to drop his final match, worrying that he might risk further injury," he said, adding that Suwandi would undergo a medical checkup as soon as he arrives home.

Suwandi told Aga of the pain after the team event final on Wednesday but at that time he could bear it. The injury worsened during Saturday's semifinals.

"The team then decided Suwandi should have a rest to give him enough time to recover before our Davis Cup play-off match against China on Friday," Aga said.

Indonesia will host China in the Davis Cup tie at Bung Karno Tennis Complex. It is the fourth time both sides will meet in over a decade.

Suwandi said he felt pain, particularly when he served or hit backhand returns.

The injury has also forced him to withdraw from the mixed doubles final, giving the gold medal to compatriots Angelique and Bonit Wiryawan.

Danai completed a double victory as he won the men's doubles with his veteran compatriot Vittaya Samrej. The Thais defeated Indonesia's veteran pair of Bonit and Sulistyo Wibowo 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-3.

The Indonesians had served the first set 5-4, but failed to take the remainder of the match as the Thais increased pressure to force a tiebreaker, which they won.

"Sulistyo and Bonit could have won the first set when they were 5-4 up and held the serve. But in the second set, it seemed that the Thais were saving their energy as Danai had previously played the singles final," said Aga.

Aga also said the Indonesian pair failed to cover their loopholes and lacked exercise, especially on Sulistyo's side.

Bonit and Angelique won the mixed doubles event without hitting a ball. The gold was the fifth win by Indonesians in the tennis competition.

The last time Indonesia made a clean sweep was in Jakarta four years ago. It won two gold medals in Bandar Seri Begawan in 1999.

Led by its top player Paradorn Srichapan, Thailand collected four golds in 1999.

"We are all quite happy with our achievement in this year's SEA Games because we expected only three golds," said Aga.(nvn)