WORLD TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: MALAYSIA, TEAM U.S.A. WIN GROUP PENNANTS
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May 22, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Malaysia and Team U.S.A. both won their
fixtures at the badminton world team championships in Glasgow, Scotland to
qualify for the promotional playoffs on Saturday.
Malaysia, playing in Group 2B, trounced hapless Canada 4 matches to 1 to
win their Group and earn a place in the promotional playoffs against Germany,
the winner of Group 2A. If Malaysia defeats a strong German side, Malaysia
will move up to the premier division and will vie for the world team
championship in 1999. Germany could also move up if they beat the Malaysians.
Team U.S.A., playing in Group 4A, squeaked past Poland 3 matches to 2 to
win the group and gain a place in the Division 4 promotional playoff against
Ukraine, the Group 4B winners. The winner of the U.S.A.-Ukraine playoff moves
up to Division 3 .
The day did not start out well for Team U.S.A. Mike Edstrom and Tang Yeping
lost the opening mixed doubles match against Poland's Damian Plawecki and
Dorota Grzejdak 12-15, 15-11 and 17-15 as Americans did not jell together in
crucial moments. Tang, a good women's singles and doubles player, was often
out of position on defense and also often did not take advantage of setups
Edstrom's court coverage and mixed doubles experience and some occasional
brilliant moments from Tang as well as errors by Grzejdak kept the Americans
in contention and into a 5-point setting in the third game.
At this point, Plawecki scored on two smashes, one into Edstrom's direction
and another a crosscourt powershot to Tang. Edstrom got two back with smashes
to Grzejdak. A service return error by Edstrom and then a failed kill attempt
also by Edstrom gave the Poles match point.
Plawecki capitalized on the opportunity when his short serve landed in.
Poland went ahead 1 match to none.
Becky Wu then played Polish Olympian Katarzyna Krazowska in the women's
Wu, playing a deliberate style, started slowky and fell behind 0-4 and then
1-9 to the fiery and power-oriented Krazowska. Wu's drive serves to the Pole's
backhand and her deceptive slice drop got her back into the game as the drive
serves and slice drops frustrated Krazowska.
Wu got close at 8-10 with a crosscourt drive but surrendered the game point
when her round-the-head driving shot found the net.
In the second game, the Pole again claimed an early lead at 6-1. Again, Wu
came back, using the drive serve and the slice drop to score points or to
force a Krazowska error.
Wu equalized at 7-all with an attacking clear that landed in. Wu then went
ahead 10-7 on errors by Krazowska.
The Pole pulled close at 9-10 on a crosscourt smash and a wide liftshot by
Wu got the serve back and then with another of her drive serves, induced
Krazowska into a mishit to win the second game 11-9.
In the decider, Wu kept pace with Krazowska and actually went into the lead
at 7-4 on Krazowska miscues. But Wu's timing on the slice drop deserted her
and she began to commit errors.
Krazowska got back into the game with a crosscourt slice drop of her own
and 4 errors by Wu.
A final Wu miscue at net handed the Pole the win at 11-7.
Poland was now ahead 2-0.
In the men's singles match between America's Kevin Han and Jacek Niedzwiedzki,
Han fell behind 5-13 before he started to click with netshots and smashes.
Han closed the gap 13-14 and equalized at 14-all on a drive that stayed in.
In the tiebreak, Han dominated with his power, driving shots into the Pole's
body and pressuring him into errors. Han took the tiebreak 3-0 and the game
Verbal fireworks erupted at this juncture as the frustrated Niedzwiedzki
unleashed some unprintable words at Han. Han came over and confronted the
The umpire called both players over and gave both a caution.
The incident seemed to fire up Han as he was all business afterwards,
overpowering Niedzwiedzski with an array of shots. Han went ahead 12-4
and then closed out the demoralized Pole 15-6 to put Team U.S.A. into the
running, only 1 match down.
Tang Yeping then made amends for the mixed doubles loss when she teamed up
with Andrea Edstrom in the women's doubles match against Krazowska and
The Americans dropped and smashed their way to a 10-3 lead in the first,
taking advantage of the smaller Grzejdak. Errors crept into the American game
letting the Poles back into contention 13-9.
An American attack pressured Grzejdak into a block that went long, giving
Edstrom and Tang game point, and a kill shot at the net by Edstrom scored
the game winner at 15-9.
The Poles came back in the second as Krazowska and Grzejdak were able to get
into their most effective formation, Krazowska in back and Grzejdak at net.
Meanwhile, the American duo fell into a patch of errors.
The Poles reached game point at 14-7 and a blocking miscue by Tang handed
them the game.
In the decider, the Americans cut down on their mistakes and also tried to
keep the play away from the dangerous Krazowska. Edstrom and Tang pulled away
to a 12-4 lead.
A Tang dropshot that fooled Krazowska made the score 13-4. Then Tang hit a
clip shot that ticked the top of the net and fell into the Polish end, giving
the Americans match point.
An American volley of hard shots then forced Grzejdak into a drive that flew
out of bounds, handing Edstrom and Tang victory at 15-4.
The fixture was tied up at 2 matches apiece.
The final match was the men's doubles - Tom Reidy and Kevin Han versus
Damian Plawecki and Michael Logosz.
Reidy and Han were too strong and too quick for Plawecki and Logosz in the
first. Han and Reidy smashed and net-killed their way to a 13-6 lead and
won it 15-8 on a smash-clear-smash attack that ended with a Logosz' drive
into the net.
The second game was more of the Han and Reidy attack and teamwork, each
moving to cover the area left by the other as the play shifted. Reidy and
Han raced to a 12-2 lead before the Poles could mount a small rally of
four points on hard drives by Plawecki.
A Han kill set up by a series of Reidy smashes and kills that the Poles
managed to block got the Americans to the all-important thirteenth point.
Plawecki and Logosz mounted an attack to try to stop the American scoring
but stellar defending by Reidy pressured Plawecki into a smash that found the
net. The Americans were at match point and at Group 4A pennant point, 14-6.
Victory came with a whimper as Plawecki hit a shot into the net to put the
score 15-6 for the Americans.
Team U.S.A. had won the group pennant.
Results from the morning's fixtures:
Switzerland beat the Czech Republic 3 matches to 2
Ukraine beat Wales 3-2
Italy beat Slovakia 4-1
Brazil beat Argentina 5-0
Cyprus beat Mexico 5-0
Malta beat Luxembourg 3-2
Results from the afternoon's fixtures:
Japan beat Thailand 3-2
Germany beat Taiwan 3-2
Netherlands beat Russia 3-2
Malaysia beat Canada 4-1
Estonia beat Chile 5-0
Lithuania beat Greece 4-1
U.S.A. beat Poland 3-2
Iceland beat Bulgaria 3-2
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