Indonesia’s men headed into the TotalEnergies BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2022 as one of the favourites, but their women’s team has attracted attention mainly because most of them were virtually unknown outside their country.
Their top singles player, Komang Ayu Cahya Dewi, at No.203, is the ninth Indonesian in the women’s singles rankings, while Aisyah Sativa Fatetani (second singles) is No.329 and Bilqis Prasista (3rd singles) is No.333. A couple of the doubles pairs are better known, but the others, like Melani Mamahit, Tryola Nadia, Lanny Tria Mayasari and Jesita Putri Mayasari, haven’t been seen at the elite level.
Yet their performances this week, notably Prasista’s takedown of Akane Yamaguchi today and Komang Ayu Cahya Dewi’s defeat of Yvonne Li, have made everyone sit up and take notice.
With familiar names like Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, Putri Kusuma Wardani and Apriyani Rahayu on SEA Games duty, their young Uber Cup squad navigated their opening tie against France 5-0 before repeating that score against Germany. While it remains to be seen how much further they can progress, their quarterfinal place is itself a creditable achievement.
Part of the reason for throwing this team at the deep end of elite competition is to prepare them for rigours ahead, said the Indonesian team management.
“We are trying this young team so they can get experience the pressures of the Uber Cup, so the next time, they will be better prepared,” said team manager Hendro Santoso.
“Putri and other seniors are preparing for the SEA Games. Uber Cup is also important, but our country have a purpose, they want gold medal at the SEA Games. But the Uber Cup team is also of the same quality. Many of them are quite young, so we are looking at the future.”
Considering the pressures of the competition, what advice have they been given?
“I’ve been telling them to trust themselves because I tell them you have the skills, you are already achievers. All of them are equally talented.”
Particularly impressive for the Indonesians has been Komang Ayu Cahya Dewi, who showed no sign of being awed as she took on first singles responsibilities in the first two ties, beating Qi Xuefei in three close games before decimating Yvonne Li, ranked 175 places above her. At the Badminton Asia Championships recently, she nearly beat world champion Akane Yamaguchi, a feat that was achieved yesterday by her compatriot Bilqis Prasista.
Women’s singles coach Marico Harda marked out Cahya Dewi as one to watch for the future.
“As women’s singles coach I believe all of them will get good experience in this tournament. Many of them are debutants in Uber Cup, and they must build their confidence.
“This is preparation for Komang as a next generation player. We believe that she is the next good player from Indonesia. I think she will do quite well in future.”