Partners since: July 2014
Ages: 27 (Alfian), 26 (Ardianto)
Career high ranking: 5th (August 23, 2022)
Current Ranking: 6th
They might be the top-ranked side in the BWF World Tour in 2022, but both Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto knew that they are still a long way to go in Indonesia, were the Daddies of Ahsan and Setiawan, and the Minions of Gideon and Sukamoljo reigned supreme in the men’s doubles.
Eight years on the court together were a proof of their impeccable chemistry in which they have stayed together for the best and worst of their playing careers.
Early years and first titles
A month since their first match together, Alfian and Ardianto teamed up to win their first title, the Indonesian International Challenge in Jakarta in which they came from a game down to win the next three at the expense of Fran Kurniawan and Agripina Prima Rahmanto Putra.
2015 brought a much-improved showing for the then-budding duo as they scored their maiden title outside of native Indonesia in the Austrian Open, in which they defeated England’s Peter Briggs and Tom Wolfenden in a three-game marathon in Vienna.
A year later, they have managed to secure more tour titles. Not only they have won their second straight Indonesian International series crowns, but they claimed another overseas title in Taipei, outlasting the hometown bets for their lone Grand Prix title.
2017 was a dry year for the pair. Despite having just one appearance in the finals on tour (where they lost in Saarbrucken, they won their first medals in international competition, getting the men’s doubles bronze in the SEA Games after losing to the Thai duo of Kittinupong and Dechapol in Kuala Lumpur.
Move up to the World Tour
A change in the BWF tours was made with the creation of the World Tour in 2018, and the Alfian-Ardianto connection wasted no time to make their mark right away.
Just days after exiting the Thailand Masters at the quarterfinal stage, the pair won their maiden World Tour title in the Malaysia Masters, silencing the home crowd in a marathon finale over Goh and Tan.
Just a month after making their World Championship debut in Nanjing, they made it all the way to the final of their home Asian Games, settling for silver after losing a marathon match against the Minions.
2019 brought another fruitful year for them as they won two World Tour titles in South Korea and Switzerland, but also got their first World Championship medals after being at the wrong end of a three-game semifinal against the Daddies in Basel.
Breakout in 2022
The pandemic hit 2020 and 2021 caused a decrease in activity for Indonesian badminton in general, as it even skipped the Worlds in Huelva over to Covid concerns.
Even so, they have become an integral part of their national team’s success as they clinched their record-extending fourteenth Thomas Cup in Denmark, with the pair notched key wins in the knockout phase.
That became a fuel to the fire for Alfian and Ardianto as they were on a tear in 2022, as they won three World Tour titles, including a sweep of the Daddies to win the Malaysia Masters. In addition, they went into the final in four more tournaments.
In the World Championships in Tokyo, the pair settled for another bronze medal finish, as Ahsan and Setiawan repeated their marathon win in Basel three years ago in the last four.
And just this past Sunday, the pair added a fourth World Tour title with a thrilling sweep of the Minions in the Denmark Open, with the second game went close to the golden point before Alfian and Ardianto prevailed 28-26.