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All-Indonesia showpiece on YONEX All England Finals day

Christie will play Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in an all-Indonesia final
Christie will play Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in an all-Indonesia final (Yves Lacroix/Badmintonphoto)

Jonatan Christie will play Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in an all-Indonesian men’s singles final at the YONEX All England Badminton Championships 2024, writes Milly McEvoy in Birmingham.

For the first time since 1994, Indonesia will have a singles champion and it is also 30 years since both men’s singles finalists came from the Equatorial Emerald.

The two are not just compatriots but good friends and former roommates and Christie knows it will be a match charged with equal amounts of emotion and expectation.

“I remember when we came to the national team,” Christie, who will play Ginting in Sunday’s third match said. “He was my first teammate and we were sharing a room and for six or seven years, we shared a room together so it is a proud moment for us and for Indonesia men’s singles.

“It is not easy, there is lots of pressure and expectation with our team to achieve a tournament like this.”

Former winners meet losing finalists in the women’s doubles as Japan’s Chiharu Shida and Nami Matsuyama face Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee in the first match on Sunday at 10am GMT.

The Korean pair have made an immediate return to the showpiece having lost to Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong in the 2023 final.

En route to last year’s final, they beat Matsuyama and Shida in the second round and boast a strong record over the sixth seeds, winning eight of their 10 previous meetings.

But Baek Ha Na is not thinking about what has come before, only what is in front of them.

“We might have more wins, if you look at the history between us, but we won't be too focussed on the past,” she said.

“The Japanese players have very fast strokes, they have very few mistakes as well, so we're just going to focus on what we have prepared and on how we play.”

Carolina Marin will play in her first All England final for nine years as she goes up against 2022 champion Akane Yamaguchi in the game’s second match.

The Spaniard leads the head-to-head 9-7, most recently beating her in the World Championships semi-final en route to the silver medal.

Marin said: “It’s been nine years since I played a final here at the All England, so of course, I want to enjoy on court the final tomorrow.

“I know it is going to be a tough game. Yamaguchi is a tough player but I know if she wants to beat me, she really needs to play hard.”

Yuta Watanabe will look to add a sixth title to his All England collection when he and Arisa Higashino take on defending champions Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong of China.

Both pairings have won two mixed doubles titles in Birmingham, with each beating their opponents in a previous final appearance.

Zheng said: “We are really serious about this event, all the players are. Our opponents in the final always perform well in this event.

“The final tomorrow is back to 2018, that was our first All England and we played against them in the final and lost, we won in 2019 against them I forgot!

“We have played against them twice in the final so I'm looking forward to it.”

The men’s doubles will round out the 2024 Championship as Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik take on the defending champions of Muhammad Rian Ardianto and Fajar Alfian.

While the Indonesians are searching for a second title in Birmingham, Chia and Soh will look to claim a first Super 1000 title and bring the curtain down on the 125th year of the tournament in style.

Be part of All The Action at the All England. Tickets are still available at allenglandbadminton.com. Can’t be in Birmingham this week? You can still see badminton’s most prestigious tournament play out on BBC Sport and TNT Sports. Don’t miss a minute!