compiled by Mike Grossman

November 12, 1996 (New Shuttlenws) - The following are bits of little- publicized news from the badminton Hong Kong Open:


== Top-seed Rashid Sidek of Malaysia pulled out of the competition at the last minute because of a stomach disorder. His withdrawal meant that Tam Lok Tin of Hong Kong who had drawn Sidek in the opening round got a free ride to the round-of-16. It also opened the door for Deepankar Bhattacharya of India to make a Grand Prix quarterfinals appearance (Bhattacharya defeated Tam in the round-of-16).

== Second-seed Ong Ewe Hock of Malaysia was unable to play because of the back injury that he suffered during the German Open. 9-16 seed Pang Chen of Malaysia also did not play.

== The dangerous Salim of Indonesia who made his first appearance in a Grand Prix final at this Hong Kong Open beat 5-8 seed Kim Hak Kyun of Korea in the first round, 9-16 seed Tam Kai Chuen of Hong Kong in the round of 16, qualifier Wong Choon Han of Malaysia in the quarters and then the 3-4 seed Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen of Denmark in the semis.

== Wong Choon Han was the bright spot for the decimated Malaysian singles representation at the Hong Kong Open. Wong had to play in the qualifying rounds to get to the main draw. He then beat 9-16 seed Rikard Magnusson of Sweden in the first round. He was also the beneficiary of the withdrawal of Ong Ewe Hock who would have been his round-of-16 opponent. Instead, he got to play a lesser player in Wang Chia Cherng of Taipei. He beat Wang to book a spot in the quarterfinals where eventual finalist Salim ended his run.

== Fung Permadi was the ultimate beneficiary of the Sidek and Ong pull-out. Permadi won his second 5-star Grand Prix tourney in two weeks after going championship-less for so long.

When it rains, boy does it pour for the Indonesian-turned-Taiwanese player.


== Camilla Martin's win over Mia Audina surprised many knowledgeable observers who had touted the young Indonesian as a heavy favourite in the finals. Audina had defeated Martin handily in their last encounter at the U.S. Open. She also had had a run of easy and untroubled wins on her way to the finals while Martin had a battle of a semifinal against Ra Kyung Min of Korea.

== Ra's semifinal result raises Korean hopes that their women's singles success will continue despite the now-confirmed retirement of Olympic gold medalist Bang Soo Hyun. Bang has stopped training with the Korean team after her marriage to a doctor and is reportedly on her way to a university in the southern USA to further her studies.

== The unseeded Brenda Beenhakker of the Netherlands got to the quarterfinals beating Peng Jie of China and then the 5-8 seed Anne Sondergaard of Denmark in three games.


== The top-seeds and eventual champions Antonius (Iriantho) and Denny Kantono of Indonesia had to beat three top pairs in a row to win the top prize - the U.S. and China Open champions Sigit and Chandra Wijaya (Indonesia), the world number 6 duo of Tony Gunawan and Rudy Wijaya (also Indonesia), and the Olympic silver medalists and world number 2 team of Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock (Malaysia).

== Cheah and Yap's road to the finals went through Zhang Song Tao and Xiao Ting of China (first round), Hian Eng and Hermono of Indonesia (round-of-16), Bambang Suprianto and Dicky Purwotsugiono of Indonesia (quarterfinals), and the Thai team of Kitipon Kitikul and Pramote Teerawiwatana (semifinals).

== Olympic gold medalists Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky lost in the round of 16 to Koreans Hwang Sun Ho and Lee Dong Soo in two games. Observers say that the extended post-Olympic celebrations and layoff as well as Mainaky's recent marriage is affecting the play of the R-and-R duo.

== Best of the Europeans in this event was the Danish team of Michael Sogaard and Henrik Svarrer who made the quarters. The top-rated European pair of Jon-Holst Christensen and Thomas Lund (Denmark) lost to Kitipon Kitikul and Pramote Teerawiwatana of Thailand in the round-of-16, while Swedes Peter Axelsson and Par-Gunnar Jonsson went down in their opening match to Sigit and Chandra Wijaya.

== Indonesian Bambang Suprianto and new partner Dicky Purwotsugiono beat 5-8 seeds Ha Tae Kwon and Kang Kyung Jin of Korea in their opener and got to the quarters where they lost to Cheah and Yap. Bambang, who used to form one of the world's best pairs with the now-retired Rudy Gunawan, is trying out Purwotsugiono as a partner. Dicky is also an excellent doubles player and is ranked 14th in the world with Sigit.

== The Indonesian pairings at this tournament may be the ones that coach Christian Hadinata will be using in the runup to the world championships in May 1997 - Ricky Subagja/Rexy Mainaky, Antonius/Denny Kantono, Tony Gunawan/Rudy Wijaya, Sigit/Chandra Wijaya, and Bambang Suprianto/Dicky Purwotsugiono. Odd man out would be Ade Sutrisna who used to partner with Chandra Wijaya.


== Top-seeds Rosiana Zelin and Eliza as well as second-seeds Helene Kirkegaard and Rikke Olsen did not compete. Their withdrawal necessitated a redoing of the women's doubles draw.

== Major beneficiary of the redraw was the hometown pair of Ng Ching and Tung Chau Man who, instead of facing the winner of a Zelin/Eliza versus Park Soo Yun/Kim Mee Hyang matchup in the second round, got to play some weaker pairs. Ng and Ching won their way thru to the semifinals where they were demolished by the German Open champions Indarti Isoliana and Denyana Lomban.

== Susi Susanti, the great Indonesian singles player who was playing doubles at the China and Hong Kong Opens as a way of getting back into competitive mode without affecting her singles rankings, and also as a tryout of the event as a possible post-singles career move, was another beneficiary of the redraw. Instead of playing the the 3-4 seeds and eventual champions Marlene Thomsen and Lisbet Stuer-Lauridsen of Denmark in their opening match, Susanti and Finarsih got to play some lesser opposition and qualified for the semifinals, where they lost to Thomsen and Stuer in three games.


== Jens Eriksen did it again. The Danish doubles specialist took down the favourites again and made it to the finals. Eriksen and partner Marlene Thomsen, half of the 1995 world champions, upended the top-seeds Nimpele Flandy and Rosalina Riseu of Indonesia in the quarterfinals of the smallish 14-entry draw and then beat the 3-4 seeds from Sweden, Pete Axelsson and Catrine Bengtsson, in the semis.

At the German Open last month, Eriksen and scratch partner Anne-Mette Bille also surprised several seeded pairs on their way to the finals. At the 1995 world championships, Eriksen and his then-partner Helene Kirkegaard upended several highly ranked pairs and won silver medals.

This is the second tournament for the Eriksen-Thomsen pair. In their first outing, the Danish duo made the semifinals. If the two keep playing together, Denmark will have at least three top-flight mixed doubles pairs vying to keep the world championship in Danish hands come May - Sogaard/Olsen, Stavngaard/Jorgensen, and Eriksen/Thomsen.

== Second-seeds Michael "Rubberman" Sogaard and Rikke Olsen of Denmark beat compatriots Eriksen and Thomsen in the finals 15-8 and 15-11.

== With Helene Kirkegaard unable to play in the women's doubles, Rikke Olsen did not have to do double duty and was able to stay fresh and focused for the mixed event.