** 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 **

November 29, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Three of the top picks at the SAS Badminton Trophy men's singles tournament in Dornbirn, Austria were defeated in sensational matches this evening. Tournament favourite and defending champion Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen of Denmark was upset by India's Pullela Gopichand, second seed Dong Jiong of China fell to Denmark's Kenneth Jonassen, and Jens Olsson of Sweden was beaten by Wong Choon Hann of Malaysia. The unexpected losses by Hoyer, the 1996 Olympic gold medal winner, and Dong, the silver medalist, ended badminton fans' hopes for an Olympic Rematch on the Bodensee in tomorrow's final.

Of the favourites, only Jeroen van Dijk of the Netherlands survived the group round-robin and moved on into tomorrow morning's semifinals, but even he had to struggle against George Rimarcdi of Indonesia and Oliver Pongratz of Germany before he was able to ensure his place in the final four.

Hoyer had began the day with a 15-7 and 15-9 victory over Thomas Wapp of Switzerland in Group Y competition, but in the evening, he fell victim to the format of the tournament as well as to the play of Gopichand. With only a few hours rest after his match with Wapp, the Danish ace had to come back on court to face a rested Gopichand. Hoyer dropped the first set 10-15 and then battled back to take the second 15-10. In the decider, the defending champion did not have enough to put Gopichand away early. The two battled to deuce at 14-all, and in the three-point tiebreak, it was Gopichand who outsteadied the veteran Dane 3-1 to take the match and the Group Y banner at 17-15.

In Group W, Dong Jiong also fell victim to the tournament format when he had to play two tough matches within a space of several hours. In the afternoon session, Dong survived a three-game affair with Indonesia's Salim. Salim, who has beaten Dong before, took the first game from the Chinese ace 15-5 but Dong recovered to win the second and the deciding third sets 15-12 and 15-9.

Later on in the evening, Dong took on Denmark's Kenneth Jonassen. The Chinese player seemed to have the match under control in the first game and he took it 15-8. In the second set, though, Dong's game began to sputter and he started to run out of energy. Jonassen took the second game with surprising ease 15-6 and then went on to win the decider 15-12.

In Group T, Jens Olsson beat Jurgen Koch of Austria in the afternoon session 15-9 and 15-4. He then lost to Wong Choon Hann in the evening competition 12-15, 15-4 and 10-15.

In Group R, Jeroen van Dijk defeated George Rimarcdi 13-18, 15-13 and 15-11 in an early contest and then beat Oliver Pongratz 15-6, 8-15 and 15-9.

In tomorrow morning's semifinals, Jonassen and van Dijk will face each other while Gopichand will play Wong.

The standings at the end of the round-robin stage:

Group Y
Pullela Gopichand (India) - 2 wins/0 losses
Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen (Denmark) - 1 win/1 loss
Thomas Wapp (Switzerland) - 0 wins/2 losses
Group T
Wong Choong Hann (Malaysia) - 2 wins/0 losses
Jens Olsson (Sweden) - 1 win/1 loss
Jurgen Koch (Austria) - 0 wins/2 losses
Group R
Jeroen van Dijk (Netherlands) - 2 wins/0 losses
Oliver Pongratz (Germany) - 1 win/1 loss
George Rimarcdi (Indonesia) - 0 wins/2 losses
Group W
Kenneth Jonassen (Denmark) - 2 wins/0 losses
Dong Jiong (China) - 1 win/1 loss
Salim (Indonesia) - 0 wins/2 losses