by Tom Kerrins

** This NEW SHUTTLENWS REPORT is presented by badminton world champions YANG YANG (1987 and 1989) and ZHAO JIAN HUA (1991) and by YANG YANG BADMINTON PRODUCTS **

September 13, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - In the men's singles semifinals of the U.S. Open badminton championships played yesterday at the Orange County Badminton Club in the southern California city of Orange, Denmark's Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen, the second seed, faced the tenth-seeded Luo Yigang of China and fifth seed Peter Gade Christensen, Hoyer's teammate, battled thirteenth seed Jeroen van Dijk of the Netherlands.


In the Hoyer-Luo match, it was the Chinese player who started out quickly and acored the first three points before Hoyer could notch a marker. Hoyer pressed to even the game but was erratic, allowing the quick-hitting Luo to increase his lead to 5-1.

Hoyer settled down and countered Luo's quick play with his own deliberate and controlling style to take an 8-5 lead. At this juncture, Hoyer again committed a spate of errors and again the Chinese player came back, grabbing the lead at 9-8.

A Hoyer smash evened the scoring at 9-all. Luo surged ahead with two points to Hoyer's single. In the next rally, Hoyer's jumping smash counted to put the Dane on equal footing with Luo.

Hoyer then put the pressure on Luo and reached game point 14-11.

Luo did not give up. He played very aggressively, specially at the net, and he managed to gain deuce at 14-all.

In the three-point setting or tiebreak that followed, Luo's aggressive play continued and he smashed his way to a 2-0 advantage.

Hoyer again played his way to a tie at 2-all, but Luo regained the service to stop Hoyer from winning the set.

The game ended 17-16 (3-2) in Luo's favour when he induced Hoyer into a shot that found the net.

In the second game, it was Hoyer who started out in good form, taking a 2-0 and then a 5-1 advantage over Luo with smashes as well as several calls that went in his favor.

Luo played his way back into the game, primarily with reverse-slice drops. He pulled ahead 6-5 and then 7-6, before Hoyer started to read and counter Luo's winners.

Hoyer took control of the net play, answering Luo's net spinners with drives. The Dane then pulled even and gained a 10-7 then 12-9 lead.

Several Hoyer errors allowed Luo to creep closer 12-10 and then 13-11.

Hoyer reached game point 14-11 and won the second set 15-11 when Luo misread a Hoyer shot and allowed it to hit the floor, only to have the shot called in.

In the decider, Hoyer was in full control taking a 3-0 lead before Luo scored twice to make the score 3-2 in Hoyer's favor. That was all the scoring that the tiring Luo could muster against the Dane who by now had all his shots and fakes going - smashes, net spinners and crosscourt drops including one beauty of an underhanded crosscourt shot that surprised Luo.
Hoyer won the third set going away, 15-2.


The young Dane Peter Gade Christensen took an early 4-0 lead with power play and smashes. Jeroen van Dijk countered with attacking play of his own to knot the score at 4 apiece.

After several scoreless exchanges of serve, Gade pulled ahead again 5-4. Gade reached 6-4 after a long rally which the young Dane ended with a scoring drop shot after he had faked van Dijk out of his shoes with a smashing motion.

Gade pulled even further ahead 10-4 as he smothered van Dijk's attacking shots with good defense and then scoring shots of his own. But the Dutch player came back 8-10 aided by several calls that rattled the young Danish star.

Gade's smash defense gained him his eleventh point. Points twelve and thirteen came with a drive shot and then a drop shot winner.

Van Dijk managed to get a point back when Gade erred on a backhand, but it was Gade's game after that as the Dane counted his fourteenth marker and then the game winner with good net play.

In the second game, it was van Dijk who had the early advantage 2-0, but Gade erased that with some quick play specially at the net. The Dane pulled ahead 5-2 before van Dijk could counter.

Gade put the Dutch player under pressure with attacking play and smashes. With these tactics, Gade raced to a 13-5 lead.

With the match seemingly in his grasp, the young Dane seemed to lose his focus and touch. Van Dijk started to come back, marking three points to make the score 8-13.

At this juncture, the match was delayed when a sheepdog broke loose from his owner's grasp and ran around the stands. The slight delay seemed to benefit Gade. He finished van Dijk off when the match resumed 14-8 and finally 15-8 on a sliced crosscourt winner.