PETALING JAYA: Shuttler Jonatan Christie is one of the favourites to win the men’s singles gold again in the Asian Games in Hangzhou from Sept 23-Oct 8 based on his Hong Kong Open title win.
The Indonesian could not have asked for a bigger boost ahead of his Asiad gold medal defence after he fought hard to beat Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 12-21, 22-20, 21-18 in the final in Kowloon on Sunday.
It was Jonatan’s second title of the year after he had captured the Indonesian Masters crown in January.
“It was such a tough match,” said Jonatan in a post-match interview with the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
“Kenta played well and never gave up but neither did I.
“When I arrived here, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to play as my physical condition wasn’t the best.
“But God had different plans and it’s something beyond my understanding. I thank God for this victory,” added Jonatan.
Jonatan won the gold in the 2018 Jakarta Games after beating Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen in the final.
While Jonatan has showed that he could enjoy another glorious outing in Hangzhou, he is set to face a strong challenge from his compatriot and world No. 2 Anthony Ginting, Thailand’s world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn, Japan’s World Championships silver medallist Kodai Naraoka and China’s world No. 5 Shi Yuqi.
The other contenders are likely to be India’s world No. 7 H.S. Prannoy and China’s world No. 8 and All-England Open winner Li Shifeng.
Men’s singles: Jonatan Christie (Ina) bt Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) 12-21, 22-20, 21-18.
Men’s doubles: Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den) bt Leo Rolly-Daniel Marthin (Ina) 21-10, 22-24, 21-19.
Women’s singles: Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) bt Zhang Yiman (Chn) 21-18, 21-15.
Women’s doubles: Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Ramadhanti (Ina) bt Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (Mas) 14-21, 24-22, 21-9.
Mixed doubles: Guo Xinwa-Wei Yaxin (Chn) bt Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Yuet (Hkg) 21-13, 21-19.