INDONESIAN Sony Dwi Kuncoro dashed out from the court to hug his coach, former world champion Hendrawan, immediately after winning his semi-final match in the men's singles event of the World Championships at the Putra Stadium yesterday.
And he certainly had every reason to feel joyful for Sony had defied the odds to reach the men's singles final after a hard-fought 18-21, 21-13, 21-15 win over Chen Yu of China in a 64-minute battle.
And after the win, Sony declared that he was all fired-up to emulate his coach by winning the world title. Hendrawan won the title at the world meet in Seville in 2001.
Today, the 24-year-old Sony will take on defending champion and the China's world No. 1 Lin Dan.
The cool and commanding Lin Dan lived up to his top billing when he reached the final with a 21-12, 22-20 win over compatriot Bao Chunlai.
Sony was happy that he got his sweet revenge over Chen Yu after losing to him at last year's Singapore Open.
“I played it safe in the first game. Fortunately, I picked up the tempo in the second game. Chen Yu was really pushing me but I am glad, I just hung on,” said Sony.
“The feeling is great to be in the final but my mission is not over yet.”
The Indonesian has never beaten the world number one Lin Dan. In the last meeting at the All-England, Sony went down in a tight rubber game.
“I hope there will be a first for me tomorrow. I see that this the moment for me. The right opportunity for me to win the world title. I want to follow in the footsteps of my coach,” he said.
Hendrawan agreed that Lin Dan is the favourite but he is also confident that Sony would give the Chinese a good fight.
“Sony began his campaign like a small wave. Now, he is a big wave. I want him to play like a Gladiator. He must believe that he can win the world title tomorrow. Anything is possible.
“Lin Dan has always been the player to beat in any tournament. He has justified his status by winning many titles. But I hope Sony will change that. I am not being arrogant but I am confident that my player can pull it off.”
The top seeded Lin Dan will be more than determined to keep the crown.
If he achieves it, he will be the first player after China's Yang Yang to successfully defend the title.
Lin Dan will also be motivated to win his first title on Malaysian soil after many disappointments here. And it will be a perfect gift to avenge the shock defeat of his girlfriend Xie Xingfang of China to Malaysia's Wong Mew Choo in the third round of the women's singles event.