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RI passes first hurdle in suspense

The Indonesian badminton squad cleared its first hurdle in the Thomas and Uber Cup Asia Zone qualifier with a nail-biting win over Singapore.

Playing in Group X at the weeklong event in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, the Indonesian Uber Cup team fell behind early when Adriyanti Firdasari lost 27-29, 20-22 to Zhang Beiwen.

World No. 9 women's doubles pair Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari then leveled with a 21-15, 21-16 defeat of Yao Lei and Sari Shinta Mulia. It was a seesaw match as Singapore went back in the lead with a 21-14, 21-19 victory by Xing Aiying over Maria Febe Kusumastuti in the second women's singles.

But Indonesia clawed back in the next doubles encounter as Shendy Puspa Irawati and Lilyana Natsir beat Frances Liu Fan and Vanessa Neo Yu Yan 21-15, 21-12.

The final rubber pitted Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Maria Kristin Yulianti trounce Fu Mingtian 21-4, 21-9 to give Indonesia a hard-earned 3-2 victory over Singapore.

Over at the men's Thomas Cup, the qualifying match in Group A between Indonesia and Singapore also proved a thriller.

World No. 5 Taufik Hidayat drew first blood for Indonesia with a 21-10, 21-18 defeat of Derek Wong Ziliang. However, men's doubles pairing Rian Sukmawan and Yonathan Dasuki were gunned down 21-19, 21-18 to Hendra Kurniawan Saputra and Hendra Wijaya, putting Singapore level again.

Sony Dwi Kuncoro then put Indonesia back in front with a 21-12, 21-9 rout of Ashton Chen Yongzhao. Doubles pair Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Muhammad Ahsan then closed out the match win for Indonesia with a 21-3, 21-19 win over Terry Yeo Zhao Jiang and Jonathan Tang Yew Loong.

For emphasis, world No. 8 Simon Santoso sealed a 4-1 Indonesian victory with a 21-5, 21-6 defeat of Kelvin Ho Ying Chong.

On Wednesday, the women's Uber Cup team plays Sri Lanka, while the country's Thomas Cup team plays Vietnam.The three top teams from both the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup Asian qualifiers will go on to the finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The finals of the biennial team badminton championships from May 9 to 16 will feature 12 teams each in the men's and women's draws, including defending champion China, host Malaysia and 10 qualifiers.

Source from The Jakarta Post

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