Asian Games: Indonesia's Christie stuns Chinese Shi on day of badminton upsets

Jonatan Christie during his loss to Chen Long during the men's badminton team final between China and Indonesia at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Aug 22, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia's Jonatan Christie lay flat on the court with disbelief after his shock win over top-seeded Chinese Shi Yuqi in front of a raucous home crowd at the Asian Games badminton on Friday (Aug 24).

The 20-year-old edged out world No. 2 Shi 21-19, 19-21, 21-17 in an enthralling one-hour eight-minute battle in the men's singles first round in Jakarta.

Ranked 15th in the world, Christie matched his senior rival serve-to-serve and smash-to-smash as a partisan crowd erupted in deafening applause at each Indonesian point.

"It's like Yuqi did not move fast enough. Maybe because he went after Anthony (Sinisuka Ginting) in the team event match. So the feet movement is a bit slower than before," Christie told reporters.

"The audience was amazing as they gave me the necessary boost to go harder in the match," he said, adding that it will be "step by step" for him.

Despite the difference in their world rankings, Christie now leads Shi 4-3 in head-to-head encounters.

The Chinese argued with the umpire on a couple of line decisions and his frustration was clearly visible.

He rallied to win the second game but Christie kept his calm to take the third game and set up a round-of-16 meeting with Thailand's Khosit Phetpradab.

"Both of us played well. I tried my best, could have played better had I committed fewer mistakes, but that's the way it stands now," said Yuqi.

"The applause (from the crowd) didn't affect me ... but there were several scores that were a little disputed."

In another major upset, Hong Kong's Vincent Wong Wing Ki served out Indian heavyweight Kidambi Srikanth 23-21, 21-19 in 41 minutes.

Srikanth, who last year became the first Indian to win four Super Series world tour titles in a season, was undone by a determined Wong.

"I have played him many times before but did not know what really went wrong," said a stunned Srikanth. "I played well in the first set but couldn't finish it up.

"He played really well in the crucial moments and he deserved to win," the world No. 8 added.

Hong Kong also created a shock in the mixed doubles, with Reginald Lee and Chau Hoi Wah overcoming Malaysia's Rio Olympic silver medallists Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying 21-17, 19-21, 28-26.

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