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Why Indonesia's sideshow fixture deserves attention

The Indonesia Open draw came out this week for next month’s Super 1000 action in Jakarta and it’s a first round tussle between two longstanding YONEX All England fan favourites that has caught the eye as pick of the opening ties.

Four years ago ‘Lin Dan versus Jan O Jorgensen’ would have warranted top billing – an anticipated semi final at least on badminton’s international circuit.

Jorgensen, the then returning champion from Europe after his 2014 triumph against the odds. Lin Dan; the master looking to break a 30 year Chinese drought for the men’s singles crown under the Istora lights.

These days, and with the re-imagining of badminton’s World Tour, the 15th career coming together is a mere sideshow act and whilst it may raise a few eyesbrows it will pass most by with little glance.

However, for those fans with longer memories. it is one that comes with no less level of intrigue.

It’s a head to head that dates back more than 10 years – Jorgensen's first world circuit final was on his rivals own patch at the 2009 China Open - and whilst Lin Dan boasts the lions share of the head to head record at 9-5, it has always thrown up a fixture to fixate.

The only encounter on the All England stage went the way of the Chinese superstar in 2016; and was a big one ending a Danish charge to the quarter finals which was buoyed by a final appearance 12 months earlier.

When everything seemed to suggest another Jorgensen title tilt it was, indeed, Lin Dan who would go on to a 10th All England final and claim a sixth title that year.

Super Dan and Jan O remain big characters; with the tattoos, sleeveless shirts and everchanging styles, they are the strong personas and striking profiles that makes sport such an appealing prospect.

They may no longer litter the higher echelons of the current world ranking – Jorgensen is down at 27th – nor command the column inches for their on court qualities but it’s a game that still conjures up a sense of occasion and gravitas that should not be lost on a busy opening day. 

Surprisingly, the 2019 meet will be the very first of their career at the Indonesia Open. Jorgensen can point to positive omens; their only dual in Indonesia went his way, that being at the 2015 Worlds. 

And he, unlike Lin Dan, has taken the title too. For all of Lin Dan’s 'Super Grand Slam' and 66 world circuit titles, the Indonesia Open crown has proved illusive.

Last year's bid was curtailed in Round One and Jorgensen will hope he can inflict the same fate 12 months on.

by YONEX All England Media Manager, Andrew Mitchell


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