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July 13, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Hermawan Susanto of Indonesia finally bagged a major badminton championship today by winning the men's singles title at the Malaysian Open in Kota Kinabalu. A-Im, as Susanto is called by his teammates, beat the youthful Danish player Peter Gade-Christensen 15-11 and 15-11 in the championship match played earlier today.

Susanto, who came into the tournament seeded only in the 9-to-16 category and who had to beat 3-to-4 seed Rashid Sidek of Malaysia and top-seeded teammate Joko Suprianto to make it to the finals, outlasted the 3-to-4 seeded Gade who tired and faded late in both games.

In the first game, Gade played well early and had the advantage going into the latter part of the set. However, Susanto managed to overcome Gade's 9-6 lead and limited the tiring, young Dane to only two more points as he won at 15-11.

In the second game, Susanto took an early lead before Gade recovered enough to tie Susanto at 5-all. Susanto then pulled away again and again Gade came back to knot up the set at 10-all. The two comeback efforts proved to be too much for Gade as A-Im then unloaded a series of strong smash attacks on the visibly tired Dane to score the five points he needed for the championship victory.

A-Im, a 1992 Olympic bronze medalist and the 1993 world championships silver medalist, had been tagged by his fellow Indonesians as the best player never to have won a major badminton title. His championship win in Kota Kinabalu today puts an end to that dubious reputation.

In the women's singles championship match, world champion Ye Zhaoying of China, the top-seed, once again failed to put a winning game together against her nemesis, the second-seeded Indonesian near-legend Susi Susanti. Ye lost to Susanti 5-11 and 7-11, enabling the Indonesian to claim the Malaysian Open crown.

Men's doubles top-seeds Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Subagja of Indonesia, the 1996 Olympic gold medalists, eked out a 17-15 first game win over their second-seeded teammates Denny Kantono and Antonius Budi Iriantho and then took the second set at 15-12 to claim their first tournament title in 1997.

In women's doubles, Ge Fei and Gu Jun of China added the Malaysian Open to their Olympic and world championships. The top-seeded Ge and Gu rolled over their 3-to-4 seeded teammates Liu Lu and Qian Hong 15-7 and 15-1 in today's championship match.

In a final played yesterday, Ge Fei had also taken the mixed doubles title as she and partner Liu Yong defeated Jens Eriksen and Marlene Thomsen of Denmark, 15-12 and 15-1.