Liliyana Natsir’s did not get the win she was looking for a farewell present to retire from badminton but the 33-year-old shuttle queen was still given a “perfect sendoff” at the Istora Sendayan Stadium in Jakarta on the last day of the Daihatsu Indonesia Masters on Sunday.
The home fans packed the stadium, several of them armed with huge banners to bid farewell to their star. The atmosphere inside the stadium was electrifying.
Liliyana and Tontowi Ahmad, however, could ride on their momentum and went down to China’s world and Asian Games champions Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong in a three-game thriller which lasted 56 minutes. The top seeded Chinese won 19-21, 21-19, 21-16.
The tide changed when the Indonesia pair allowed their opponents to reel off seven points in a row to surrender a 18-14 lead in the second game. In the decider the defending champions found their rhythm to stop the under pressure Indonesians.
Their victory was worth USD27,650 while the losers pocketed USD13,300 for their efforts.
Earlier in the women’s singles final India’s Saina Nehwal, runner-up to Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei last year, took the title when Spain’s Carolina Marin retired after 10 minutes of play through a knee injury. Marin was leading 10-4 at that stage.
In the men’s singles Denmark’s Anders Antonsen upset world champion and top ranked Kento Momota 21-16, 14-21, 21-17 in a marathon 79-minute final.
It was an all-Indonesia final in the men’s doubles with world No 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo retaining their title with a 21-17, 21-11 win over Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan.
Japan’s Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi retained their women’s doubles title, defeating Korea’s Kim So-yeong-Kong Yee-hong 21-19, 21-15 in 43 minutes. RIZAL ABDULLAH
Results (All finals)
Anders Antonsen (Den) beat Kento Momota (Jpn) 21-16, 14-21, 21-16
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) beat Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina) 21-17, 21-11
Saina Nehwal (Ind) beat Carolina Marin (Spn) 4-10 rtd
Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) beat Kim So-yeong-Kim Yee-hong (Kor) 21-19, 21-15
Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) beat Ahmad Tontowi-Liliyana Natsir (Ina) 19-21, 21-19, 21-16