Indonesia upset defending champions China to end 19-year wait for Thomas Cup glory


Sheer joy. Jonatan Christie celebrates after delivering the winning point for Indonesia against China in the Thomas Cup Finals. - Badminton Photo

PETALING JAYA: The 19-year wait is over for Indonesia as they regained their supremacy in the Thomas Cup Finals when they pulled off an emphatic 3-0 win over defending champions China.

It was Indonesia's 14th triumph but not since they last tasted success in the 2002 edition in Guangzhou where they beat Malaysia in the final.

World No. 7 Jonatan Christie turned hero after defeating rising star Li Shifeng 21-14, 18-21, 21-14 in 82 minutes to clinch the winning point as the Indonesia camp erupted into sheer joy.

Armed with mastery on the net, powerful smashes and tricky shots, Jonatan put his admirable fitness level on display as the win yesterday marked his third straight battle, which had lasted more than an hour.

He took 75 minutes to beat Ng Tze Yong in the 3-0 quarter-final win over Malaysia before trading blows with Denmark's Anders Antonsen in a 100-minute thriller on Saturday.

Shi Yuqi's absence in the opening singles due to an ankle injury was sorely felt by China but Lu Guangzu put up a worthy show to make sure that world No. 5 Anthony Ginting went the extra miles to win the first point.

Anthony needed to come from behind and battled for 77 minutes to tame the 24-year-old Guangzu 18-21, 21-14, 21-16.

Indonesia made a bold decision by fielding their third choice Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto for the first doubles match and they showed that they were equally reliable when they outplayed He Jiting-Zhou Haodong 21-12, 21-19 to give Indonesia a 2-0 lead.

The comfortable lead was good enough to motivate Jonatan to go all the way to seal the win for Indonesia.

Prior to the latest victory, Indonesia came close twice before settling as runners-up to China in 2010 and Denmark in 2016.

As for China, their defeat prevented them from making a clean sweep of both Thomas and Uber Cup double since 2012.

FINAL RESULT

THOMAS CUP FINALS

Indonesia bt China 3-0 (Anthony Ginting bt Lu Guangzu 18-21, 21-14, 21-16; Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian 21-12, 21-19; Jonatan Christie bt Li Shifeng 21-14, 18-21, 21-14.

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