Indonesia’s women face a crucial match against rival Thailand today that could determine whether they will go to the Uber Cup finals on May.
They easily secured a quarterfinal berth in the Uber Cup Asia zone qualifying rounds with a 5-0 defeat of Kazakhstan at the Macau Forum for its second win in Group Y on Tuesday.
Thailand also clinched a berth with a 5-0 win over Sri Lanka.
That means whoever wins in today’s Group Y finale will advance to the quarterfinals as the group winner.
Topping Group Y is important for both teams because the loser will have to play the Group W winner, which is all but certain to be China. The 11-time Uber Cup winner sits atop Group W after beating Malaysia 4-1 on Monday.
With only the Asia zone semifinalists advancing to the tournament finals in Wuhan, China, on May 20-27, playing the favorite in the quarterfinals would be an unattractive option.
“It won’t be an easy match [against Thailand]. It will be a real fight,” Adrianti Firdasari said after winning 21-9, 21-11 over Veronika Sorokina in the No. 1 singles match against Kazakhstan.
As Indonesia’s best-ranked shuttler, Adrianti will likely to play against Thailand’s No. 1, Inthanon Ratchanok. Adrianti lost to the Thai star in last year’s Southeast Asian Games women’s team final in Jakarta, which cost Indonesia the gold medal.
“She’s a very tough opponent to beat, but I want my revenge. I’ll have just to be patient and focus against her,” Adrianti said.
Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) secretary general Yacob Rusdianto agreed that Thailand would be tough.
“Both teams have the same quality and chance to win. We hope the players will play at their best and win the match,” Yacob said.
Meanwhile, world No. 13 Inthanon said three single matches against Indonesia would determine whether Thailand would win the race to top the group.
“If we want to win the match, we have to win all three single matches,” Inthanon told state news agency Antara. “I think we have 50-50 chance against Indonesia, but Indonesia has great doubles.”
On Tuesday, Indonesian shuttlers didn’t have any problems against Kazakhstan.
After Adrianti’s victory, Lindaweni Fanetri made it 2-0 by thumping Karina Suleyeva 21-4, 21-10, before Belaetrix Manuputi beat Ilyana Filipchuk 21-7, 21-4.
In doubles, Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari won 21-7, 21-12 over Sorokina and Karina Suleyeva, while Liliyana Natsir and Shendy Puspa Irawati, both mixed doubles specialists who played together for the first time in women’s doubles, completed the sweep by beating Elizaveta Yakovleva and Filipchuk 21-4, 21-5 in just 13 minutes.
“It’s a bit odd at the start because I had never played a women’s doubles event for so long. But if the coach wants us to play against Thailand, we’re ready,” Shendy said.
Indonesia men’s team eased into to the quarterfinals of the Thomas Cup Asian qualifiers after getting a second victory in Group B with 5-0 defeat of Singapore on Tuesday.
Top men’s singles shuttler Simon Santoso started with a 21-9, 21-12 defeat of Derek Wong.
Top men’s doubles pair Bona Septano and Mohammad Ahsan beat Terry Yeo and Liu Yi 21-14, 21-16, and Taufik Hidayat brought an unassailable 3-0 lead for Indonesia with a 21-16, 21-12 defeat of Ashton Chen.
2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalists Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan then won 21-14, 21-14 over Jonathan Tang and Jeffrey Wong.
Tommy Sugiarto defeated Chao Huang 21-14, 21-8 to complete the rout.
Indonesia will wrap up the group stage against India today in a match to determine first place.
India also secured a quarterfinal spot from Group B on Tuesday by earning its second victory with 5-0 rout of host Macau.