It’s been a grueling week for Sony Dwi Kuncoro, and it’s just getting tougher.
The man who was once Indonesia’s top badminton singles player won his first title in two years in Bangkok on Sunday and then played two matches on Tuesday to secure a berth in the main draw of the Indonesia Open.
Then Sony found out his opponent on the first day of the $650,000 Super Series Premier event today is Denmark’s Peter Gade, the tournament’s third seed.
Sony earned his berth with a 21-18, 21-19 defeat of Frenchman Brice Leverdez in the qualifying round final at Istora Gelora Bung Karno in South Jakarta. Earlier on Tuesday, he had a tough first-round qualifier against India’s Anand Pawar before winning 21-23, 21-10, 21-9.
“I just got back from Thailand on Monday night. I’m definitely tired,” Sony said. “But my game has been improving and I don’t have any injuries, so I’ll be ready for tomorrow’s match against Peter.”
Sony won the Indonesia Open in 2008, and no local shuttler has lifted the trophy at the tournament since then.
World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, the Malaysian who won the next three men’s singles titles, is absent this year due to a foot injury. Fellow favorite and world No. 2 Lin Dan of China withdrew from the tournament for an unspecified reason.
Sony, currently ranked 65th in the world after enduring a catalog of injuries in the past two years, said he would love to win the tournament again. But he’s realistic about his chances.
He has a 2-1 record against Gade, but their last meeting was five years ago when Sony won in the 2007 World Championships quarterfinal. “I’ll just take one game at a time. But I’ll try to win. I want to win,” the 28-year-old said.
Andre Kurniawan Tedjono was the other local shuttler who qualified for the main draw. He beat compatriot Shesar Hiren Rustavito 22-20, 20-22, 21-18 to move on and meet another Indonesian, Taufik Hidayat, in today’s first round.
“I’ve played nine times against Taufik and won only three. I’ll try to improve that record,” Andre told state news agency Antara. “He has a great smash and I’ll try to prevent him from using it.”
In women’s singles, Ana Rovita stunned national team shuttler Lindaweni Fanetri 17-21, 21-19, 22-20 to advance to the main draw. Ana won her qualifying spot after Adriyanti Firdasari earned direct entry to the main draw due to Frenchwoman Pi Hongyan’s withdrawal on Monday.
“My secret? Well, I just fought until the end. I was really tired in the third set but I saw her getting slower too, so I just took my chances to win,” said the world No. 269, who will play against Gu Juan of Singapore in the first round. “It’ll be a tough match [against Gu], but I’ll give my best shot.”
Two other local women qualified for the main singles draw. Desi Hera earned her berth by downing Xing Aiying of Singapore 21-15, 10-21, 21-14, while Aprilia Yuswandari beat compatriot Maziyyah Nadhir 21-12, 21-16.