KOREAN OPEN: STUER MAKES IT FOUR IN A ROW FOR DENMARK
(from a report filed by YANG YANG BADMINTON SHUTTLES)
January 25, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen made it four
elite international men's singles badminton titles in a row for Denmark
today when he captured the six-star Samsung Korean Open crown at the
Olympic Stadium in Seoul.
Stuer, a bronze medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics who has been
hampered by injury after injury since then, defeated world championship
silver medalist Park Sung Woo of Korea in today's championship match
15-12 and 15-10.
Stuer was able to use his physical attributes - his 6-foot 5-inch height,
his long reach, and long legs - to good advantage today against the shorter
Korean player. Defensively, he was able to turn back enough of the Korean
smashes and fast drives to his body and prevented Park from taking control
of the match.
It was sweet revenge of sorts for the tall Dane. His latest severe injury
came during a semifinal match at the 1995 world championships in Swtizerland.
He was playing against Park and was in a winning position when he landed
badly after a jumpsmash and injured an ankle. The injury forced him to retire
from the match and he had to give up an excellent chance at a world
Stuer's victory is the fourth consecutive elite international badminton
men's singles championship for the Danes. Hoyer-Larsen, the Atlanta Olympic
gold medalist, won the invitational elite-player Copenhagen Masters in late
December to start the Danish streak. The up-and-coming Peter Gade-Christensen
won the men's singles title at the Taipei Open, the first major badminton
tourney of 1997, and then Peter Rasmussen made it three in a row last Sunday
when he took the Japan Open crown.
In today's other championship match, an all-China affair, Olympic women's
doubles champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun asserted their mastery over Qin Yiyuan
and Tang Yongshu. Ge and Gu defeated Qin and Tang, the Olympic bronze medal
holders, 15-10 and 15-10, for their second consecutive major title in 1997.
Ge and Gu had won last week's Japan Open women's doubles championship.
In semifinal action in the other events, women's singles top-seed Gong
Zhichao and second-seed Ye Zhaoying won their matches to set up the second
all-China championship match in this year's Korean Open.
Gong easily defeated compatriot Dai Yun 11-2 and 11-2, while Ye, the current
world champion, came back from a close first game loss to beat Korea's Ra
Kyung Min 10-12, 11-7 and 11-8.
In men's doubles, top-seeds Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock of Malaysia
dispatched Yoo Yong Sung and Lee Dong Soo of Korea 15-8 and 15-7.
Both pairs started out playing tentatively with several exchanges of
serves. The Koreans settled down first and got ahead with attacking play,
while the Malaysians made several errors under pressure from Yoo and Lee.
However, Cheah and Yap soon got their game into high gear. They began to
defend well and managed to attack the Korean pair with great effectiveness,
breaking down the Yoo-Lee defenses, specially in the second game.
In the other men's doubles semifinal, Indonesia received another
disappointment at this edition of the Korean Open when second-seeds Tony
Gunawan and Rudy Wijaya went down to defeat at the hands of Ha Tae Kwon
and Kang Kyung Jin of Korea.
Gunawan and Wijaya played nervously from the outset while Ha and Kang
were combining well offensively and defensively. Ha and Kang kept the
pressure on the Indonesian pair in the first and completely dominated them
15-2. Gunawan and Wijaya tried to come back in the second, but seemed to
get more nervous and erratic as the game progessed and as the Koreans
continued to play well together. Ha and Kang took the second 15-8.
The mixed doubles semifinals also was a disappointment for the Indonesians.
Top seeds Tri Kusheryanto and Minarti Timur lost to Jens Eriksen and Marlene
Thomsen of Denmark 15-4 and 15-9.
The Danes played a flat game through most of the the match, using drives and
net shots and avoiding lifts and clears to take away Kusheryanto's jump
smashes and ultra-deceptive jumping drop shots. Kusheryanto and Timur tried
to counter by speeding up play and by playing tight net shots to induce a
Danish lift. However, this only resulted in Indonesian errors to the net or
to the endlines, or in short clears and lifts and popups at the net which
the Danes feasted on for many points.
The Eriksen-Thomsen win over the world number one pairing of Kusheryanto and
Timur is the second in a row for the Danes. At the Japan Open last week,
Eriksen and Thomsen also upset the top-seeded Indonesians, that one being
a very closely fought 18-14, 15-18 and 18-15 quarterfinal battle.
With the defeat of men's doubles semifinalsts Gunawan and Wijaya and mixed
doubles semifinalists Kusheryanto and Timur today, badminton power Indonesia
has been shut out of the titles at this six-star rated badminton tourney.
The other mixed doubles semifinal was won by Japan Open champions Liu Yong
and Ge Fei of China. Liu and Ge eliminated Koreans Yoo Yung Song and Jang
Hye Ock 15-4 and 15-7 to set up a repeat of last week's Japan Open finals
with Eriksen and Thomsen.
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