The old lions aren’t done yet. Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan roared back on to their biggest title in over three years, capturing the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2019 and showing they still had the magic of their vintage years.
The two-time world champions bounced back from the loss of the opening game to young guns Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik to claim their second All England title, 11-21 21-14 21-12. Their win stopped the fairytale run of the Malaysians, who were playing in their first major final on their All England debut.
For an extended period, the fairytale looked set to continue, with Chia and Soh dominating the exchanges. A 21-11 first game win was a grim setback to the Indonesians, particularly with Setiawan nursing a right calf injury.
The Indonesians turned it around by relying on their trusty forecourt game. On the serve-return and third shot, they were so sharp that they gave the Malaysians nothing to work with. Unable to open up the game to bring their attack to bear, the Malaysians were drawn into a territory that was all Indonesia’s.
Chia admitted that they had got outplayed in the first three shots. “Setiawan is so good at the net. They were so much better on the third shot and that took the game away from us. We are happy to have reached the final on our debut, but still a bit disappointed with the way we lost.”
Setiawan, who has Olympic and World Championships golds to his name, rated this as one of his best wins.
“The All England is obviously one of the most prestigious tournaments and we are very happy to win it again after four years,” said Setiawan.
“My calf was giving me trouble in the beginning but after the first game it got better.”
Ahsan chalked the win down to their self-belief: “The Malaysians were very good, but for us to win despite Hendra’s injury is a great result. We just tried to stay focussed on every point.”
Did You Know?
Ahsan and Setiawan have gone over three years without a title of this level – their last Super 1000 or equivalent title was the Dubai World Superseries Finals in 2015.