Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan’s unbeaten run as a pair at the BWF World Championships continued, with the Daddies assuring themselves of yet another medal by making the semifinals.
Individually, 38-year-old Setiawan is still in the hunt for a record fifth gold medal, while Ahsan (34) is in contention for his fourth.
Today’s quarterfinal, against India’s upcoming pair MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, played out differently from their past matches. In their three completed matches previously, Arjun and Kapila had stretched the Daddies to close third games. With the Indians looking in great touch with their defeats of eighth seeds Astrup/Rasmussen and Terry Hee/Loh Kean Hean, they could nurture hopes of an upset.
Nothing went their way, however, as the Daddies kept them on a tight leash. In five minutes, Ahsan and Setiawan were up 11-1 as the Indians struggled to find rhythm. For their part, both Ahsan and Setiawan were nearly flawless, dominating the serve-return exchanges and quickly closing out each rally.
A disheartened Arjun surmised that their touch was off on the big day.
“I think we were very rusty with the rackets, the legs were kind of there but then we were not getting anything in the rackets at all. I felt the shuttles were a little faster today with the court conditions changing. We were trying to get the shuttle high, but it was either going too long or short and we were not able to defend. When that happened at the start we were nervous about what to do.
“We wanted to get the shuttle high and not play the in-between shots when we were low, and when that didn’t work, we kind of went blank on what to do next.”
“They knew pretty well what we were going to do, and whatever we played did not work,” said Kapila. “We were not feeling tired, it was just a mental thing mostly.”
“We learnt from our past matches as we watched the videos. We had to attack first and not make mistakes. They changed their tactics for this match, but we were more ready,” said Ahsan.
In the semifinals, the Daddies take on younger compatriots Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, who dismissed the challenge of Ben Lane/Sean Vendy in just 29 minutes.