Badminton: Markis and Hendra End 3-Year Title Drought
Ami Afriatni & Sandy Pramuji
Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan screamed in relief after winning the Singapore Open Super Series men’s doubles final on Sunday.
They embraced each other after their 22-20, 11-21, 21-6 defeat of second-seeded Ko Sung-hyun and Yoo Yeon-seong of South Korea in the men’s doubles final at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
For Markis and Hendra, former world champions and the 2008 Olympic gold medalists, the victory ended a three-year title drought that started in 2009 when they beat Malaysian top pair Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong in the French Open Super Series.
“This is incredible. This means that we can still compete against the world’s best and win,” Markis said in a text message on Sunday. “Our only regret is, why only now? Why didn’t we play like this since last year so that we would probably have qualified for the Olympics?”
The pair, now ranked No. 8 in the world, had struggled with their game since 2008, when they won four Super Series and took the Olympic gold medal in Beijing. In 2009, they won just two titles before the long drought began.
It was the darkest three years of the pair’s career. Their biggest achievement during the period was winning the gold medal at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.
The long stretch of poor play caused them to miss out on this year’s Olympics in London, where they would have had the chance to defend their gold medal. Only the top eight doubles teams in the Badminton World Federation rankings were admitted to the competition, and they were ninth when the cut was made on May 3.
“We regret that, but now we’re looking forward to our future,” Hendra said.
Their rejuvenation started with a title in the second-tier Australian Open Grand Prix Gold in Sydney in April.
Then they made the semifinals of the Indonesian Open — their first semifinal in a major tournament since last year’s Japan Open — before falling to eventual winners Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung of South Korea.
“Now we have our confidence back,” Markis said.
Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand took the men’s singles title by edging out China’s Wang Zhengming 21-18, 21-19 in the final.
Germany’s Juliane Schenk took her maiden Super Series trophy with a 21-11, 26-24 defeat of Taiwan’s Cheng Shao-chieh in the women’s singles final.
Bao Yixin and Zhong Qianxin of China won in women’s doubles with a 21-12, 21-17 defeat of Taiwan’s Cheng Wen-hsing and Chien Yu-chin, while Taiwan’s Chen Hung-ling and Cheng Wen-hsing beat Shintaro Ikeda and Reiko Shiota of Japan 21-17, 21-11 for the mixed doubles title.