(Photo: Badmintonphoto)

A sisterly communication that works wonders

11/24/2021 2:26 PM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
The Stoevas win their opening match at the Indonesia Open and advance onto the next round after a hard-earned win in straight games against Ponnappa/ Reddy.

After a second-round exit at the Indonesia Masters last week, Gabriela Stoeva/ Stefani Stoeva have got off to a good start in the SimInvest Indonesia Open with a win against Ashwini Ponnappa/ Reddy N. Sikki.

We just needed to fight
Talking to BWF after their win against the Indian pair, the Stoeva sisters mentioned how they had in mind their last encounter with them and knew that they would have to stay at their 100 per cent if they wanted to come out on top.

- I think we were nervous because we played Ponnappa/ Reddy in the All England where we lost in straight games, and we did not want to lose again. The result today was pretty close, they were fighting like crazy. We were expecting a tough match against them, and we are happy that we won the match, Stefani said.

Despite it being a win in straight games, the score reflects how hard both pairs were fighting on court, especially when it comes to the result of the opening game, 29-27.

-  At the first break we talked with our coach, and he said that we just needed to fight. I think this helped us a lot in the game because it was pretty close. We know them very well. They are a very good pair and they made us work very hard, so we are very happy to be on the winning side today, Gabriela said.

Rallies, rallies, and more rallies
The Bulgarian duo have openly expressed on their social media platforms their disappointment with their recent performances, having lost their first match in the Hylo Open at the beginning of the month and then in their second match of the Indonesia Masters 2021, leaving early than what they would have wanted but still looking forward to the next big challenge ahead, the Indonesia Open. The sisters knew what they wanted to work on before this week’s event.

- I think our physicality was better than in the previous week. We were working more on the physical training between these two tournaments. We need to improve our physical condition, especially against the Asian players in these conditions. It is only rallies, rallies, rallies, so we need to be ready, Stefani explained.

We miss the people in the hall
Players from around the world look forward to playing in Indonesia. As a country that is heavily invested in badminton, they expect a warm welcome paired with the great location that is Bali and, of course, an incredible atmosphere. However, sadly for the players, the show had to go down without a live audience due to the COVID-19 measures in place.

- We actually love it. We are very sad that the audience is not allowed to be here at the Indonesia Open. In these kind of tournaments, especially in Indonesia, it is the people who are in the hall screaming and supporting that make the tournament. I know it can be annoying for some players, but we like it. You see so many fans, and the atmosphere is amazing, Gabriela said.

- We cannot see this in our country, we miss the people in the hall, Stefani stated.

- I hope that next year if everything goes well, people will be allowed to come and watch the matches because we miss the atmosphere of the Indonesia Open, Gabriela added.

Sisterly communication
The Indonesian crowd are indeed known worldwide for their enthusiasm and rousing cheers. Gabriela and Stefani are huge fans of the support, despite not being used to it in the beginning.

- It was tough at first. I remember that in our first Indonesia Open, I was stressed when I went on court. People were screaming, and when you do an ugly shot, they laugh at you, so that made me feel stressed. But with the years and the more tournaments we played, we got used to it and we love it, Stefani said.

- We have a sisterly communication, so we do not need to talk. I think we can communicate without saying any words, only with the eyes, so we know how to work. The only problem is that we cannot hear our coach, so we have to get really close, Gabriela explained.

A win and fantastic news to motivate them
Next, they will be facing Lee Meng Yean/ Yap Cheng Wen. The Malaysian pair lost in their opening match at the Indonesia Masters against Linda Efler/ Isabel Lohau but have got off to a good start with a win against Alexandra Bøje/ Mette Poulsen, 21-12, 19-21, 26-24. The Stoevas are ready to keep on fighting.

- I think we need to prepare much better than today. We expect a fight with long rallies, a long match again. We have to be more aggressive and not make easy mistakes. We need to fight, this is key. When you fight, you can win any match.

The win was not the only good thing to happen to the sisters today. Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva have just received the news that they have qualified for the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals.

- We are very happy to play our second finals, Stefani stated.

- We saw it this morning on Twitter. We did not know that we had qualified. Of course, we will give our best and we want to get good results. This is our target. We will go match by match so that we will be on the winning side, Gabriela added.

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