Reigning Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie made amends for his group phase defeat, sending top-ranked Indonesia into the semifinal after completing a 3-0 sweep of host Philippines in the 2020 SMART Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships, Friday at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Christie, who is the world’s seventh-ranked shuttler, remained composed throughout the second singles match to fend off Lanz Zafra, 21-11, 21-14, and secured Indonesia’s passage into the next round of this tournament backed by SMART Communications, Inc., MVP Sports Foundation, Leisure and Resorts World Corporation, Cignal, and TV5.
Philippines’ Ariel Magnaye and Alvin Morada provided the challenge in the opening frame of the doubles match after leading at 7-6. Mohammad Hasan and Hendra Satiawan regrouped, though, and took the frame at 21-16.
The Indonesians then buckled down to work and dominated the second at 21-12 for the insurmountable 2-0 advantage.
Despite the loss, Zafra was thankful for the experience of playing against such world-class athletes. “Happy po ako na nakalaban ko po siya,” the 18-year-old said. “Kasi po nakakalaban lang po sila sa mga Super Series po kapag top thirty-two ka.
Zafra added, “Okay po kasi ngayon po nagkakaroon ng maraming tournaments para sa ‘min, nakakapag-expose po sa mga laro naman at ‘yung kailangan pa naming i-develop sa laro.”
In the other ties, India secured its place in the semifinals against Indonesia after Srikanth Kidambi made amends for his singles loss, completing the comeback against Thailand, 3-2.
Kantaphon Wangcharoen and Kunlavut Vitidsarn took down B. Sai Praneeth and Kidambi in the first two singles matches, putting Thailand up at 2-0. Wangcharoen outlasted Sai Praneeth, 21-14, 14-21, 21-12; meanwhile, Vitidsarn stunned Kidambi, 22-20, 21-14, in the following rubber.
M. R. Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, nonetheless, started the turnaround after a 21-18, 22-20, against Kittinupong Kedren and Tanupat Viriyangkura in the first doubles match. Young stalwart Lakshya Sen then forced the decider with 21-19, 21-18 win over Suppanyu Avihingsanon.
Malaysia and Japan arranged their showdown for the other semifinals pair after taking down Korea at 3-0 and Chinese Taipei at 3-1, respectively.
Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik swept Choi Solgyu and Kim Won Ho, 21-19, 21-14, to put their side up at 2-0. Cheam June Wei then fended off Son Wan Ho in the second singles match to send the Malaysians into the last four with 21-18, 9-21, 21-14.
Kanta Tsuneyama and Kenta Nishimoto put the Japanese side up at 1-0 and 2-1 after defeating world number 2 Chou Tien Chen and Wang Tzu Wei, respectively. Tsuneyama stunned Chou with a 43-minute 21-12, 21-17 win, before Nisihimoto came back to win over Wang at 13-21, 22-20, 21-14.
The Taiwanese duo of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin then leveled the tie at one match apiece in the second rubber, taking down Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi.
Indonesia and India, and Malaysia and Japan will dispute their places in the final on Saturday, February 15 at 4 p.m.