Indonesia can thank singles stars for winning six-hour battle with Taiwan

Reliable: Jonatan Christie rose to the occasion to win the second singles match for Indonesia.

PETALING JAYA: Thirteen-time winners Indonesia rode on their victories in the singles matches to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Thomas Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark.

Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie rose to the occasion to win their first and second singles matches respectively to pave the way for teammate Sheshar Rhustavito to seal a thrilling 3-2 win over Taiwan to emerge Group A winners.

In the battle that lasted for more than six hours, Indonesia’s pride in the men’s doubles took a beating when neither world No. 7 Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian nor scratch combination Mohammad Ahsan-Daniel Marthin managed to deliver a point.

They hoped to win at least one doubles match as their singles department appeared shaky after Anthony and Jonatan, the world No. 5 and No. 7, were beaten in their previous tie against Thailand.

But the duo made up for it with Anthony drawing first blood with a 22-20, 21-16 win over Chou Tien-chen.

Indonesia’s move to field Fajar-Rian in place of world No. 1 Kevin Sanjaya-Marcus Fernaldi to take on on formidable Olympic champions Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin in the opening doubles did not work out.

The decision was understandable as Fajar-Rian were undefeated in all their three encounters against Lee Yang-Chi-lin previously.

But the Taiwanese, who have improved by leaps and bounds this year, prevailed 28-26, 16-21, 21-14 in 64 minutes.

Jonatan, who took the court next, restored the lead by beating Wang Tzu-wei 21-17, 21-13 but Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han battled back swiftly to draw level with a 22-20, 17-21, 23-21 win over Ahsan-Daniel in another nail-biting contest which lasted 78 minutes.

Indonesia then turned to Sheshar for their last hope and the world No. 19 delivered when it mattered most again - just like he did against Thailand.

This time, he kept his nerves in check to beat Chi Yu-jen 16-21, 21-18, 21-19.

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