'Minions' bring back the spark in their game
Indonesia's world No 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo have made their way to the final in the men's doubles in the Badminton Asia Championships in the Automobile City of Wuhan, China.
The top seeds are thrilled to bits by reaching the title after knocking out last year's runners-up and third seeds Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda in a three-game thriller.
It was not an easy match for the Indonesians were one-game down before coming back strong in the next two for a 15-21, 21-15, 21-15 win in an hour-long thriller at the Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium.
Their opponents in the final on Sunday is another Japanese hurdle - fifth seeds Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe who fought a marathon 83-minute battle to subdue Korea's rising pair Kang Min-hyuk-Kim Won-ho 21-17, 20-22, 27-25 in the last match of the night on Saturday.
The Koreans and the Japanese fought tooth and nail as they exchanged point for point before the Endo-Watanabe nailed the match - thanks to their nerves of steel and cool approach.
Coming back to the Indonesians hailed their march to the final as "bringing back the spark" in their game.
"It has not been a good year for us and to reach the final of a major event like Asian Championships is thrilling. We have enjoyed our game thus far in Wuhan...and that is one of the reasons why we are in the final," said Sukamuljo.
The Indonesians had a disappointing season so far this year. They lost in the first round in the All-England, the quarter-finals in the Malaysia Open and the semi-finals in the Singapore Open.
The win over Kamura-Sonoda in Wuhan is also sweet revenge for their 21-13, 10-21, 19-21 defeat in the semi-finals in the Singapore Open.
"We put all the defeats this year behind us...we have taken a new approach to our game and that is to enjoy our game. This is what we have done in Wuhan and it has brought the spark back in our game.
"At the same time, we are not getting carried away with what we have achieved in Wuhan. The final will be another game but we are ready to enjoy another match," added Sukamuljo.
Meanwhile, in the women's doubles, it will be a China-Japan affair. Japan's Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara will take a crack at the Asian title to add to the world title.
The third seeds upstaged current World No 1, compatriots and top seeds Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota in straight games 21-16, 26-24 in 57 minutes.
They play China's hopes Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan in the final. The fourth-seeded Chinese defeated Indonesia's Della Destiara Haris-Rizki Amelia Pradipta 22-20, 21-12 in 43 minutes.