Indonesia Open: Naraoka Wins a Hard Slog

Put a slow shuttle and Kodai Naraoka together, and it becomes a trudge in the sand. Anders Antonsen, playing catch-up in the third game of a long opening round match at the KAPAL API GROUP Indonesia Open 2023, tried to get the crowd involved, looking to feed off their energy. It almost worked.

But Naraoka, with his stonewalling style and depending solely on keeping the shuttle to the back, survived with his error-free game, challenging Antonsen to find the winners. That proved difficult, and Antonsen came away wondering if he’d employed the right tactics .

“Today was a physical game, the shuttles were extremely slow. Both of us were struggling to finish the rallies. He chose to go the route of playing everything back, and I was the one trying to score some points. I don’t know if I should’ve gone the other way and just played rally style. I tried to create the game and I don’t know if it was a good idea or not,” said Antonsen, of the 82-minute match.

Antonsen congratulates Naraoka after the Japanese won the final point.

“I want to be a creative and attacking player. Obviously I need to turn it on and turn it off and decide the right moments to do whatever. But it was a fun game. After the first game I didn’t feel I was able to hit my shots, so I tried to get the crowd involved and pumped some energy through them. That worked very well, it was a fun experience, I almost made a comeback. But I’m disappointed right now.”

“The approach is a bit similar to Momota back in the say sometimes, when he faced me and Viktor, just get everything back and hope we will mess up at some point. The approach is similar to something I’ve seen before. I mean, he’s good at that, it seems like when you play at that pace, he can continue for a long time. I felt good physically, I was able to run with him, so I’m happy with that. The future is going to be fun, many more matches with Kodai in the future.”


Toma Junior Popov
  • Toma Junior Popov enjoyed a surprisingly straightforward win over Thailand Masters champion Lin Chun Yi in 51 minutes, 21-18 21-15.
  • World No.5 pair Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida crashed out in the opening round to teammates Rena Miyaura/Ayako Sakuramoto 21-16 19-21 21-17.
  • All England and Thailand Open champions Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong suffered an early jolt, falling to Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara 21-17 21-16.

What They Said

“I wasn’t expecting to play this tournament, but I registered as usual and luckily I got promoted to the main draw. It was a good experience to play in such a stadium, with so many fans.” – Thet Htar Thuzar

“Despite Beiwen not feeling her best, I had to play some good badminton against her to get that win. There’s a big side drift, about a metre drift, so I had to do a good workout there, and happy with the level I brought.”—Kirsty Gilmour, after beating Beiwen Zhang

“This is my last match in Indonesia. I’ve played 15 straight Indonesia Opens and six Indonesian Masters, so I’ve been here more than 20 times. Of course it’s a very special place for me. I’m sad I’m not coming back to play.” – Hans Kristian Vittinghus 




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