Badminton Life

Sony Steps Out Of Taufik's Shadow With Home Victory

It was a triumphant day for home star Sony Dwi Kuncoro after he swept to the men's singles title at the Indonesian Open in Jakarta and revived his country's Olympic hopes.

After a disappointing Thomas Cup in May, where Indonesia failed to reach the semi-finals, Sony raised his game to beat China's Bao Chunlai in the semi-finals and then overcome his compatriot Simon Santoso in the final to lift the title.

It was not to be a double Indonesia celebration in the singles events, however, with Maria Kristin Yulianti falling in the final to China's Zhu Lin.

For Sony, the victory not only established him as a possible challenger for an Olympic medal in Beijing this August but also helped him emerge from the shadow of his compatriot and reigning Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat.

He came back from one game down to beat Santoso 19-21, 21-14, 21-9 for his first title since last year's Taiwan Open.

"I tried to be very patient this time," said Sony. "At the Thomas Cup, I didn't play so well because I fancied attacking too much. Today, I tried to build up the rallies and attack only when necessary. So, I tried to attack less even at the risk of putting the crowd to sleep.

"I'm even more satisfied with this win because people say I'm not much of a three-game player and I didn't really prepare for this Super Series. I thought I could win but I didn't walk on court underestimating Simon. Now, with this title, I hope people will stop asking 'Where's Taufik?' and recognise what I have achieved."

In the semi-finals, Sony also won in three sets against Bao.

Zhu also needed three games to beat Yulianti in their women's singles final, eventually winning 21-18, 17-21, 21-14.

Yulianti had beaten Chinese Olympic champion Zhang Ning in the semi-finals and her performance, despite suffering a knee injury in the second game, will give her hope for the Beijing Games.

"Yes, I got hurt in the second game but I tried to go on," said Yulianti. "I tried my best but I couldn't survive the third game because of the pain. I have no regrets and my injury doesn't worry me too much because my knee should get better in a few weeks."

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