Mohammad Ahsan and Fajar Alfian powered Indonesia to its third straight continental crown after taking down the 2020 SMART Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Indonesia defeated regional rival Malaysia, 3-1, in the finale of this tournament backed by SMART Communications Inc., MVP Sports Foundation, Leisure and Resorts World Corporation, Cignal, and TV5.
Ahsan and Alfian shook off Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi in the first game of the second doubles match, 21-18. The duo took control of the second, 21-17, to take the tie and keep Indonesia’s place at the top of the biennial meet.
Despite playing with another partner other than Hendra Setiawan, Ahsan knew that he would work well with anyone including Alfian. “During training, we are used to changing partners, so we’ll get used to playing together.
“We are very happy and now we’re focused on the next Thomas Cup,” second-ranked doubles player in the world continued.
World no. 5 Anthony Ginting needed to fight hard to snag the opening frame against Lee Zii Jia, 22-20, before taking control of the second game at 21-16, to put the defending champions on top after the first singles match.
Ginting trailed 8-11 after the first interval but was able to get his bearings and forced the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion to errors late in the first game to ultimately get the advantage.
“The Minions” tandem of Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sakamuljo then made it a 2-0 lead for Indonesia after taking down Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.
Gideon and Sakamuljo had to accomplish a similar turnaround to get the first, 22-20, before wrapping up the win in the second at a more comfortable 21-16 victory.
Cheam June Wei shook off several title-clinching points from reigning Asian Games gold medalist Jonatan Christie, taking the deciding frame to keep Malaysia in the battle after 68 minutes of play, 21-16, 17-21, 24-22.
Muhammad Ardianto, Firman Kholik, Shesar Rhustavito, and Setiawan complete the Indonesian squad.
Japan and Korea took the bronzes and will join both Indonesia and Malaysia in the 2020 Thomas Cup in Aarhus, Denmark.
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