KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesia veteran Hendra Setiawan showed he is shaping up just fine in his bid to win his third world badminton title in his own backyard.
On Sunday, the 30-year-old Hendra combined superbly with Mohd Ahsan to edge world No. 1 Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong of South Korea 14-21, 21-15, 23-21 in a thrilling men’s doubles final at the Malaysian Open.
The match went down to the wire but a resilient Hendra was a rock throughout the match and gave his younger partner the much needed support to stave off the Korean onslaught.
It was Hendra-Ahsan’s second Malaysian Open title, having emerged champions in 2013. But it was the Indonesians’ first-ever win over the Koreans in an Open tournament. Their two previous wins over Yong-dae-Yeon-seong were recorded at the Thomas Cup Finals in India and Asian Games in South Korea last year.
Hendra said Sunday’s win had given him a huge boost ahead of the World Championships in Jakarta in August.
The gifted Hendra won his first world title in 2007 with Markis Kido. He won again in 2013 in China with Ahsan.
“Yong-dae and Yeon-seong are a tough nut to crack. But today, we persevered until the end to get the better of them," said the soft-spoken Hendra.
“This win will certainly give me the motivation I need to go for my third world title and what better way to do it than in my homeground.”