KUNSHAN: Indonesia recovered from an opening loss to beat South Korea 3-1 and reach their first Thomas Cup final since 2010.
The Koreans, who pulled off a huge upset on Thursday when they beat powerhouse China in a pulsating thriller, were expected to have the edge against Indonesia with their formidable doubles line-up.
However, the titanic battle against China took the sting off world No. 1 Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong and Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang, who lost tamely to their Indonesian counterparts on Friday.
The Koreans seized the lead at the Kunshan Sports Centre Gymnasium when Son Wan-ho beat Jonatan Christie 21-10, 21-16.
Jonatan, who moved up to first singles when Tommy Sugiarto was rested after complaining of muscle strain in his win over Hong Kong's Angus Ng Ka Long on Thursday, chose to work the shuttle around but the strategy did not work and it was all over in 37 minutes.
The top doubles pairing of Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan turned the tie around for Indonesia.
Ahsan-Hendra made amends for their straight-game loss to Hong Kong's Or Chin Chung-Tang Chun Man in the quarter-finals by stopping Yong-dae-Yeon-seong 21-15, 21-12 in just 34 minutes.
“We were definitely affected by yesterday’s (Thursday’s) long match, which finished very late. Credit to the Indonesians for playing better than us. Physically, they were in better shape,” said Yong-dae, who partnered Yeon-seong to beat China’s Zhang Nan-Fu Haifeng to hand his team their second point in the quarter-final on Thursday.
Anthony Ginting, despite his lack of Thomas Cup experience, played superbly to give Indonesia a 2-1 lead.
The 19-year-old Indonesian played a fast game to overwhelm Lee Dong-kuen 21-18, 21-18.
Gi-jung-Sa-rang were also a letdown in the second doubles for South Korea as Indonesians Angga Pratama-Ricky Karanda Suwardi clinched the winning point with a 21-15, 21-18 win.
Indonesia last won the Thomas Cup in 2002 and high performance director Rexy Mainaky said they are not concerned about who they will meet in the final.
“Since we left Indonesia, our focus has only been on the next step,” said Rexy.
“After the draw was made, we were ready for China or South Korea in the semi-finals.
“It was an excellent performance today and I could not be happier.”