Indonesia Open: Home Players Light the Fireworks

How could Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto and Lisa Ayu Kusumawati not be happy?

The Indonesian mixed doubles duo had saved six match points to win their opening round at the KAPAL API GROUP Indonesia Open 2023 – perhaps their most memorable win on home turf in their still-young career.

And by that same token, how could Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie not feel crushing disappointment? For, after all, they had squandered those very six match points.

Similarly, how could Putri Kusuma Wardani not feel elated? The Indonesian had saved four match points at the end of a punishing contest against Iris Wang. And Wang herself – how could she not be in tears after such an emotionally draining match, where she was seeking affirmation of some sort, after losing in the first round of her last three tournaments?

These contrasting emotions, happiness and sadness, are part of every game, but they are especially apparent in a crucible like the Istora Senayan, with its sensory overload within an intimate arena. The Istora is a character on its own, and visiting players have to brave the frenzied chanting that creates a wall of sound to shake even the most steely-nerved of them.

Putri Kusuma Wardani

And so it was that Goh and Lai couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities, with the crowd getting into the act with every missed opportunity. Iris Wang, too, although it was not so much a case of her squandering her chances rather than Kusuma Wardani grabbing them from her.

“It’s kind of heart-breaking for me right now – so close, yet so far,” said Shevon. “We were leading 20-17 in the second game and there were a few shots where we had the advantage but we made the mistakes. That stole a bit of our confidence as well, and our opponents got back their confidence and momentum.

“Matches like this, the most important thing you learn is how to control our own emotions. Every player, whether you’re new or been around a long time, it’s about how you handle that pressure. It’s easier said than done. Every player faces the same problem, it’s how we get to learn through this experience, these mistakes, and not let it come to us the next match.

“It’s challenging every time, every match is different, every opponent is different, every mental game is different. For more seasoned players have more experience in this, but we did not manage to handle it well today, and it cost us the game.”

Iris Wang, during the course of a close match against Putri Kusuma Wardani.

As for Iris Wang, who was struggling to keep her emotions in check, dealing with the loss contrasted with the thought that she’d featured in a high quality contest in perhaps the greatest venue of all.

“She handled the pressure in front of her home crowd. It’s always disappointing when it’s such a close match. The crowd was deafening, sometimes I couldn’t even hear myself think. But it’s so nice to play in this hall, the crowd is so amazing,” said Wang, the lump in her throat still evident after she came off court.

What They Said

“I’ve lost a couple of times to her recently, so I didn’t think much about it, I treated it like a fresh match. It’s even more special that I beat her in front of her home crowd. In Indonesia the crowd is always amazing. She’s a skilful player, and I was prepared for her strokes. If you’re alert on court you can take all the shuttles. If you’re nervous that changes.” – Pusarla V Sindhu after beating Gregoria Mariska Tunjung.

“I did my best today. I’m not thinking too much about what’s next, I just want to do my best in every match. I’ve had a hip injury and I’ve not fully recovered yet, so I will try to recover first and then think about the next step.” – Kento Momota, after his loss to Ng Ka Long Angus.

“It feels good. I love to play here. I have good memories here. It makes me feel happy to be on court. Today I played a good game, I was keeping the shuttle on court in the long rallies. I won many games here, I also lost some, and I got my first injury here, but I always try to keep only the good memories.” – Carolina Marin, after beating Goh Jin Wei.


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