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Indonesia's new era comes of age in Korea

For many an observer inside the badminton community,  Indonesia’s new era of men’s singles – with all its promise, talent and youthful swagger - has flattered to deceive somewhat on the world stage in recent seasons.

That new era, spearheaded by the enigmatic Jonatan Christie and Anthony Ginting, have captured the hearts of a loyal fanbase more akin to a boyband following.  But, whilst they adorn bedroom walls from Medan to Denpasar, the results of note have not always followed.

The doubles game in mens and mixed events have flourished with titles aplenty but the rich history of Indonesia’s single game – so long a legacy left by the likes of Rudy Hartono and Hariyanto Arbi – has struggled to keep pace.

It is testament to such a legacy that the last men’s singles Superseries win chalked up by an Indonesian shuttler came courtesy of Sony Dwi Kuncoro, often deemed the veteran of Indonesia’s line-up, at the Singapore Open in 2016 - some 8 years after his first win on the World Tour.

But this weekend, in Seoul, the game changed. The new era finally came of age with both Christie and Ginting reaching their first ever Superseries finals – a first All-Indonesian men’s singles final in nine years according to the record books.

Back then, at the 2008 Indonesia Open, Sony Dwi Kuncoro defeated Simon Santoso in three.

Here, it was Ginting, playing in his ever International final let alone at Superseries level, who took the honours in a deciding end that, at 22-20, will live long in the memory.

It was a title win that means Ginting matches the solitary Superseries title won by Tommy Sugiarto and, more famously,  Taufik Hidiyat.

At 21 years old, it is potentially career-making for the world number 24.  Ginting had talked earlier in  the week about ‘a chance’ with the omission of a host of the game’s bigger names in Korea. It was a comment that threatened to undermine today’s achievement - but lest if not be forgotten he dispatched world number one Son Wan Ho, top seeded at his home Superseries, at the semi final stage.

For Jonatan Christie, some would argue that a Superseries final was an eventual formality after impressing in a run that took him to the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold final just 3 months ago.

That day he was beaten by the in-form Sai Praneeth.

Here, Christie proved his mettle from Day One of competition. Lee Hyun II is not the force he once was but on home turf in front of his home fans, the two time Olympic semi finalist is an intimidating prospect in Round One – something Christie handled with aplomb.

 Christie was understandably disappointed in defeat to his compatriot – he had won their one previous meeting at the Malaysia Open back in April - but his time, on this showing, will come.

Now as the World Tour heads to Tokyo, there will be renewed confidence in Indonesia that their singles stars can carry a threat.