'Home' victory for Indonesian pair
Indonesians Angga Pratama and Ricky Karandasuwardi consider Singapore their "second home".
And why not, after winning the SEA Games badminton men's doubles title yesterday to add to their OUE Singapore Open crown last April?
Using their "home ground" advantage, the pair defeated compatriots Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon 21-12, 24-22 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Speaking to the New Paper after their win, Ricky said: "The atmosphere here is similar to Indonesia and I definitely felt more confident coming back after winning the Singapore Open. It's like coming to a second home."
Ranked 14th in the world, Angga, 24, and Ricky, 23, had to earn their stripes the hard way though, as their compatriots pushed them to the limit.
After losing the first set, Kevin, 19, and Marcus, 24, stormed back in the second, even taking an impressive 9-1 lead.
However, their composure failed them when it mattered most, allowing Angga and Ricky to claw their way back to draw level at 20-20.
In the final moments, experience told, and Angga and Ricky closed the game at 24-22 to take gold.
Ricky said: "My mind just went blank when both teams were even near the end of the second set. We were so close, but honestly I didn't care about the score at that point.
"In my mind, we were still scoreless, and played each point as they came. I was that focused."
Victory tasted especially sweet to him. Two years ago, he and Berry Angriawan, his partner at the time, were beaten to the gold medal in Naypyidaw.
Kevin and Marcus, who last Friday had clinched the team gold with Angga and Ricky along with other compatriots, found out that the familiarity with their opponents didn't work to their advantage.
Nerves were to blame for their loss yesterday, said Kevin.
He said: "We train with each other, so in a way we do know each other very well. When we were leading in the second set, we thought we could win it but they were even more composed than us.
"They were relaxed and calm. Maybe they were more prepared from the start and they really pressured us, but I felt we rushed it when we should have played by the points.
"I'm just going to use this as motivation, and it's a win for Indonesia anyway because both teams get to be on the podium."
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