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 14, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - The men's doubles championship match at the U.S. Open badminton tournament was contested by the fifth seeds, Liu Yong and Zhang Wei of China, ranked number thirteen in the world, and Koreans Ha tae Kwon and Kim Dong Moon, seeded eighth.

Ha and Kim are not rated as a pair because they very seldom play together. Ha is ranked sixth with regular partner Kang Kyung Jin, while Kim, a mixed doubles specialist, is only listed at number 61 with Yoo Yung Sung. Kim is one of the 1996 Olympic mixed doubles gold medalists and has won the U.S. Open mixed doubles title in 1995 and 1996.


The Korean pair started out blasting smash winners with the taller Ha firing away from the rearcourt and Kim guarding the net. Ha and Kim raced to a 5-0 lead before Liu and Zhang tallied a point.

The Chinese got their own attack going and scored again, channeling their smashes to Ha until the tall Korean failed to block one smash on his backhand side.

However, the Chinese were not able to sustain their pressure. Instead, the Koreans pulled ahead 9-2 on their own attack as well as Chinese mistakes.

Liu and Zhang scored once more on smash down the middle and in between the two Koreans. That was all the scoring for the Chinese pair in the first game. The Koreans pulled further ahead and won the game 15-3 on a Chinese drop shot that went wide.


After the change of ends, the Chinese attack began to click with Liu striking jump smashes and jump drops from the rearcourt and the shorter Zhang guarding the net. The Chinese duo moved quickly to a 5-0 lead.

The Koreans countered and scored two points, but the Chinese attack was too good at this point. Liu and Zhang also kept varying their attack to keep the Koreans off-balance. The Chinese raced to an 8-2 advantage.

The Koreans staged a comeback to come closer at 5-8. The Chinese retrieved the serve and scored their ninth on an uncharacteristic error by Kim.

The Chinese again pulled away using their varied attack. Sometimes it would be Zhang smashing and Liu killing at net, and at other times, it would be Liu smashing and Zhang patrolling the net. The Chinese reached the all-important thirteenth point when Zhang uncorked a spectacular mid-court smash that counted.

An error by Liu on a crosscourt drop allowed the Koreans to score their sixth, but the Chinese were relentless in their attack. They got the serve back and scored twice to win the second set at 15-6.


In the early part of the decider, Liu and Zhang got a nose ahead 3-2 when the Koreans hit a clear wide. The Chinese scored again, but the Koreans then mounted a comeback to tie at 4-all.

The Koreans got the momentum with Ha in the rear and Kim at net. Ahead at 5-4, they scored when Kim faked a smash to the sidelines and then blasted the shuttle down the middle.

Ha and Kim scored again to make the tally 7-4. The Chinese mounted their own comeback. A Chinese dropshot that Ha could not retrieve got Liu and Zhang their fifth point. After they had counted another marker, Zhang tied up the game 7-7 with a smash.

The Chinese attack went to work and Liu and Zhang moved to a 10-7 advantage. But the Koreans were not finished.

Ha and Kim came back with a blistering attack that forced the Chinese into errors and the Koreans managed to tie the game up at 10-all.

Ha and Kim moved ahead 11-10 on an error by Liu. Then came the point of the match. The Koreans were on the attack with ferocious smashes raining down on Liu and Zhang. The Chinese pair defended well, turning back six boomers until finally the Koreans got one past the Chinese wall.

The Chinese were undaunted. Behind 10-12, they came back to tie up the game at 12 points apiece.

Ha and Kim stopped the Chinese string of points and then scored one to put them ahead 13-12. A smash down the middle got the Koreans to game point 14-12.

At championship point, the Koreans went into attack mode and scored the final marker when the Chinese hit a return wide.