I’ve seen many pairings in men’s doubles badminton, and I’ve found one pair to have the winning combination of fast-paced play and twin-level coordination. This team is none other than the fast-rising duo of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto.
Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto are two of the most exciting players in men’s doubles badminton today. Partnering in July 2014, the two men’s doubles shuttlers experienced early massive success in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) International Series. In their 2014 debut, they won the 2014 Indonesia International Challenge, setting the tone for their future accomplishments in the International Series. They followed up their International Series success with a Grand Prix title victory at the 2016 Chinese Taipei Masters — a win that placed the entire men’s doubles division on notice. From here, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto added ten World Tour titles to their resume. In 2022, the pair won the prestigious BWF award for Most Improved Player. In that same year, they ascended to the top of the World Rankings as of December 2022, holding the top spot for more than 13 weeks.
Few teams in modern badminton can boast the impressive list of titles and accolades that Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto have. Learn more about the team’s meteoric rise to prominence in my latest edition of Player Profile!
Fajar Alfian’s Early Badminton Start
Fajar Alfian was born on March 7, 1995, in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. He naturally took to badminton, playing and competing locally at a young age. It wasn’t long before Alfian made his junior debut.
Alfian debuted as a boys’ and mixed doubles player at the 2013 Badminton Asia Youth Team Championships. Weeks later, he played in several other international youth tournaments, including the 2013 World Junior Championships.
Muhammad Rian Ardianto’s Early Badminton Career
Born on February 13, 1996, Muhammad Rian Ardianto started competing internationally earlier than his future partner, Fajar Alfian. Ardianto debuted at the 2012 Badminton Asia Youth Championships. From here, he took part in several other tournaments in 2013 and 2014, winning a junior bronze medal at the 2014 World Junior Championships.
Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto’s Partnership: Hitting the Ground Running in the International Series
After playing separately and as juniors, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto finally paired up in 2014. The newly formed men’s doubles pair kicked off the year with a showing at the Indonesia International. At the 2014 Indonesia International, the duo won their first senior title after defeating their compatriots Fran Kurniawan and Agripinna Prima Rahmanto Putra in the finals.
Months later, the pair bagged an impressive podium-worthy finish at the 2014 Bahrain International Challenge. Ardianto and Alfian won a bronze medal at the tournament after advancing as far as the semis.
In 2015, Alfian and Ardianto won the Austrian Open after defeating England’s Peter Briggs and Tom Wolfenden in the finals. The match was suspenseful, to say the least, with both teams forcing it into a third game.
Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto’s International Series haul didn’t stop there as they defended their Indonesia International crown. At the 2015 Indonesia International, Alfian and Ardianto bested their compatriots Hantoro and Rian Swastedian in a nail-biting, three-game match.
Breaking Out in 2016
Ask Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Aridanto about their breakthrough year, and they’d probably say it was in 2016. I can think of a couple of reasons for that.
First, the duo chalked up an unprecedented hat trick in the Indonesia International. After defending their Indonesia International title in 2015, Alfian and Ardianto set their sights on a second successful defense — and defend the title again, they did.
At the 2016 Indonesia International, the up-and-coming duo defeated Japan’s Yoshiki Tsukamoto and Shunsuke Yamamura in the finals. The victory gave Alfian and Ardianto their fourth International Series title. Most importantly, they remained undefeated at the Indonesian International for three consecutive years!
Besides the “Indonesia International Hat Trick,” the duo also drew attention from the badminton world as they won the 2016 Chinese Taipei Masters. At the Chinese Taipei Masters, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto battled through five games to win their final match against Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi Lin.
In an interview with BWF TV, Alfian and Ardianto gained more confidence in themselves after winning the grueling one-hour match against a formidable Taiwanese team. Without a doubt, the pair’s confidence oozed as they bagged more titles after 2016.
Alfian and Ardianto’s World Tour Accomplishments
After amassing enough ranking points in the Grand Prix circuit in 2017, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto qualified for the World Tour. Making their World Tour debut in 2018, the pair advanced as far as the quarterfinals at the Thailand Masters — not a bad start in the World Tour.
Thereafter, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Ardianto redeemed themselves by winning the 2018 Malaysia Masters. Months later, they followed up their victory with another title finish at the 2018 Modi International Badminton Championships.
In 2019, Alfian and Ardianto won the Swiss Open and Korea Open. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic punctuated the team’s World Tour momentum due to worldwide cancellations in sporting events.
Luckily, the Indonesian pair was back in action in 2022. Alfian and Ardianto kicked off their 2022 campaign with an impressive win at the 2022 Swiss Open. In May 2022, Alfian and Aridanto performed impressively against Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi in the finals of the Thailand Open. Despite losing, Alfian and Ardianto won silver and the admiration of the crowd in the Bangkok Impact Arena.
A month later, they redeemed themselves with an impressive title victory at the 2022 Indonesia Masters. Alfian and Ardianto also bagged two more World Tour titles after winning the 2022 Malaysia Masters and the 2022 Denmark Open. Following the victory, the duo ascended to the top of the World Rankings.
In 2023, the new World Number One pair kickstarted the year with a victory at the 2023 Malaysia Open. Perhaps the duo’s most significant victory was at the 2023 All-England when they defeated Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
All in all, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto have bagged ten titles on the World Tour — and from the looks of it, I don’t think they’re stopping anytime soon!
An Exciting Pair To Watch
Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto are on their way to dominating the men’s doubles division. With what they’re accomplishing so far, it’s exciting to imagine what they’ll pull off next.
One thing is certain — the sky’s the limit for this duo!
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