(Photo: BEC)

Anders Antonsen loves playing in Indonesia

11/22/2021 2:20 PM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Alan Raftery
Seeing that over half of Antonsen’s World Tour final have come in Indonesia, it is safe to say the Dane is making a habit of playing some of his best badminton in the world's largest island country.

The year 2019 was one where that Antonsen really made his move near the top of the men’s singles tree. This was kickstarted by a sensational performance against Kento Momota at the Indonesia Masters in January to take the title as an unseeded player. 

Later that year he went on to win gold at the European Games and silver at the World Championships, before returning to where is all started to be a runner-up at the Indonesian Open. 

In 2020, before the world shutdown due to the pandemic, Antonsen found himself in another Indonesia Masters final against the home favourite Anthony Ginting. Antonsen really seems to like playing in Indonesia.

It is a curious thing in sport when an athlete tends to perform well in a certain location. While a common question, the sports stars are rarely able to give a definitive answer. 

Is it the climate? The time of year? The cuisine? The atmosphere? The venue? The excitement of playing in the badminton-loving nation of Indonesia? Perhaps a combination of all of these reasons?

All of Antonsen’s big performances in Indonesia have been in the Istora Gelora Bung Karno, but last week for the Indonesia Masters 2021 it was away from the capital Jakarta. At the Bali International Convention Center, Antonsen scored comfortable straight games win all the way to the final. 

After beating the man (Srikanth Kidambi) who beat the man (H.S. Prannoy) who beat the man of the moment, Viktor Axelsen, Antonsen made it to another final. 

-Very happy to have reached my fourth consecutive final here in Indonesia! But I’m not satisfied yet, Antonsen wrote to his fans on Saturday night.

The final
His opponent was the top seed Kento Momota, as was the case for Antonsen’s only win over the Japanese ace in the final two years ago. 

The match began with Momota building a sizable 9-2 lead over the European Champion. Antonsen got into the game when catching up before the break, in fact taking the lead briefly at 11-10. Following a tight tussle in the mid-game, Momoto kicked away from 15-15 to win the opening game 21-17. 

Despite winning the first two points in the second game, Antonsen could not do anything to stop nine consecutive points for Momota. This was the moment that the world number one made his move to strike revenge and take the title this time. 

-Kento [Momota] was the better man today and unfortunately, I wasn’t really able to push him much, Antonsen explained after the match.

-A lot to learn from this week and today’s match. I’m still happy to have reached another final here in Indonesia, he concluded. 

The players stay in Bali for the SimInvest Indonesia Open 2021 this week. Anders Antonsen will once again face Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the opening round. 

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