The recently concluded All England Championships saw the current world number one pair Kevin Sanjaya and Marcus Gideon knocked out in the first round. They lost to former world number ones Zhang Nan and Liu Cheng of China. They lost 21-19, 20-22, 21-18.
They came in the championship as the favorites. They had won the championship in 2017 and 2018. It was their hat trick year.
Their exit came as a shock result regardless of the opponents.
PBSI’s Susi Susanti, earlier in the year, expressed her satisfaction at Kevin and Gideon’s commitment and training regime. Their doubles head coach Herry Ip had also expressed that this would be the year the pair complete the hat trick.
If it had been a third All England it would have been a great confidence booster for Tokyo 2020.
But the pair bowed out to pressure. They came back in the second game clinching 20-22, but lost out in the end. They are under extra pressure because it is another Indonesian pair eyeing for a spot at Tokyo. And this time is the former champion and former world number ones Mohamad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
Kevin/Gideon were not chosen for Rio 2016 even though their 2015 performance was quite impressive. So this time they must be determined to make the cut and win all the way.
Both the 2017 and 2018 world championships, they were the favorites. But both times they could not reach the semi finals. They seem to have a mental block like a certain decorated player from Malaysia.
With Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan adding to the pressure, and with Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto all eyeing the spots for Tokyo from Indonesia. The current world number ones are certainly under a lot of pressure. With such neck-to-neck competition, Indonesia truly has the chance to make the gold at Tokyo.
But will it be Kevin Sanjaya and Marcus Gideon?