Shesar Hiren Rhustavito will not forget the 2022 Thomas Cup semifinal against Japan in a hurry.
Making his first ever knockout stage appearance for Indonesia, the 28-year-old was calmness personified throughout the all-important fifth match of the tie at the Impact Arena in Bangkok last night, leading his country to a 3-2 triumph.
Despite establishing a two-point lead via Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Mohammad Ahsan/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, Indonesia were pegged back by the gallant efforts of Kenta Nishimoto and Yuta Watanabe/Akira Koga.
Rhustavito, who has only featured in group stage ties since his Thomas Cup debut last year, then stepped up to beat Kodai Naraoka 21-17 21-11 in 44 minutes and gift defending champions Indonesia consecutive final appearances for the first time since 2002.
Rhustavito did not attempt to conceal his delight during his post-match interview.
“This is the best moment of my career. I will remember the winning point forever,” he said.
“I’m grateful I was able to provide the winner. I had to wait five hours but I was prepared mentally to play the decider and go all out. I’m proud because this is a very important achievement for Indonesia. I’m looking forward to the final.”
Ginting’s fifth win in his 16th meeting with Kento Momota and Ahsan/Sukamuljo’s success against world champions Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi gave Indonesia the ideal start. Nishimoto however, saw off Jonatan Christie before Watanabe/Hoga levelled the tie with a three-game victory over Muhammad Rian Ardianto/Fajar Alfian.
Is Rhustavito now prepared to do it all another time against surprise finalists India tomorrow?
“I hope to be at my maximum if called upon again. I will be ready but I rather we wrap up the match early and I don’t play,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ginting revealed making calculated assaults helped him record a first win since French Open 2019 over Momota.
“His defence is really good so the main strategy was to ensure I didn’t rush my shots. I tried really hard to attack him but with patience. Thankfully that worked,” said the world No.5.