Who are the two Indians to have won Indonesia Open?
The Indian shuttlers are performing well in the ongoing edition of the tournament.
The Indonesian Open 2021 is currently ongoing at the Bali International Convention Center in Nusa Dua, Badung Regency Hall Bali, Indonesia. The tournament is organized by the Badminton Association of Indonesia. It is also one of the three tournaments to be granted the Super 1000 level. The tournament that had its inception in 1982 has come a long way since then.
Moreover, it is also under the purview of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) since 2007. With total prize money of $1.25 million on the table, the tournament sees some big names participating in singles, doubles and mixed doubles categories. This year the Indian contingent has performed decently in the tournament so far. With the likes of B. Sai Praneeth, P.V. Sindhu, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty going through to the later stages of the Indonesian Open.
In fact, two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu has reached the semi-finals of the tournament. She defeated Sim Yujin 14-21, 21-19, 21-14 in a gruelling one hour six minutes encounter. The Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist will now face Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon for a place in the final. On the other hand, one of India’s top male singles players, B Sai Praneeth is also having a good run in a badminton tournament after a long time.
He sailed through the quarterfinals of the Indonesia Open after defeating Chistro Popov of France. He won the match in a thrilling three-game encounter (21-17, 14-21, 21-19). The match lasted for one hour and 23 minutes to move into the quarterfinals. However, a tough challenge lies ahead for Sai as he will face world No. 2 and Tokyo Olympic Champion, Victor Axelson in the quarterfinals.
India’s promising men’s doubles pair, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty entered the Indonesia Open quarterfinals after a nail-biting pre-quarters match. The Indian duo won 21-15, 19-21, 23-21 over Korea’s Kang Minhyuk and Seo Seungjae. These players will now look to win the prestigious title after coming this far in the tournament. Only two Indian shuttlers have been able to win the title in the history of this competition, let’s find out who they are.
Saina Nehwal (2010, 2012)
Saina Nehwal was the first one to break the deadlock for the Indian shuttlers at the Indonesia Open. That too after 28 long years and not just by winning any medal but striking gold. The then top seed Saina Nehwal performed brilliantly in the tournament in 2010. She defeated the likes of Ella Diehl, Erika Hirose and Sayako Soto among others. The final match against Soto was quite competitive after a straight win in the semi-finals. However, Saina eventually prevailed with a 21-19,13-21,21-11 finish.
Fast forward to 2012 and Saina Nehwal doubled her Indonesia Open title win. The contest saw Nehwal going through Japanese, Indonesian, South Korean and Chinese opponents. In the final, she played against fourth seed Li Xuering of China. Despite dropping the first game, Saina bounced back strongly and claimed the remaining games to win her second title in the competition. The match ended with a scoreline of 13-21, 22-20, 21-19 in the favour of the Indian badminton star, adding another feather to her decorated cap.
Kidambi Srikanth (2017)
Srikanth is the second Indian player to win the Indonesian Open. He is also the only Indian male player to do so. Moreover, he was an unseeded player at the tournament when he won the title. But that didn’t phase him one bit. The Indian shuttler showed great heart and skill to pull off a great upset in the competition.
He defeated fourth seed Jan Jorgensen and second seed South Korea’s Son Wan-Ho on his way to the title. Srikanth registered hard-fought three-game victories over both of them. However, the final match was relatively easier. He made quick work of Japanese player Kazumasa Sakai in a 21-11, 21-19 victory, making it a special moment for Indian badminton.
Currently, India is in the eighth position in terms of winning the most titles in tournament history with a total of three gold medals. Hopes are high from the reigning world champion PV Sindhu.