Friday, April 19

Epic clash of Titans


Indonesia take on China in battle for supremacy

KUALA LUMPUR: When the Dragons takes on the Garudas in the Thomas Cup final today, the battle for supremacy will be a mouth-watering epic clash of the Titans.

Lin Dan (Left), Taufik Hidayat

Lin Dan (Left), Taufik Hidayat

As defending champions China lock horns with second-seeded Indonesia, the much-awaited match will undoubtedly involve Olympic champion Lin Dan of China and Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat.

Lin Dan, the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medallist, is the current world number two singles while Taufik, the 2004 Athens Olympic gold medallist, is world number five. Their head-to-head records now show 6:3 in favour of the Chinese.

China chief coach Li Yongbo predicted that today’s final at the Putra Stadium, would be an ‘epic battle’ between the two Olympics champions.

“Overall, both are balanced teams which dominated the world ranking. I think it will be a good show tomorrow,” he told reporters here yesterday.

The Great Wall team is expected to field the same line-up when they beat Malaysia 3-0 in Friday’s semi-finals — Lin Dan, Chai Yun/Fu Haifeng (8th in world ranking), Chen Jin (3) Chen Xu/Guo Zhendong (5) and Bao Chunlai (8).

Indonesia, on the other hand, are expected to field Taufik, Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan (3), Simon Santoso (12), Nova Widianto/Muhammad Ahsan and Dyonisius Hayom Rumbaka (26).

The Indonesians however, might field Sony Dwi Kuncoro (11) instead of Simon for their second singles as the latter is inexperienced.

Earlier, Sony was given a break after their group match against India due to a back problem.

Indonesia’s team manager Yakob Rusdianto said Taufik should open the path for the team’s victory.

“I think Indonesia must snatch the first singles and hopefully, both our doubles will overcome their respective opponents.

“If Taufik fails, it would be difficult to beat the Great Wall team,” he said.

China are bent on bagging their eight Thomas Cup crown. In the last edition in 2006, China beat South Korea 3-1 in Jakarta.

Indonesia has captured the coveted Cup 13 times, the last being at the 2002 edition in Guangzhou, China after beating Malaysia 3-2 in the finals. — Bernama