GRAND PRIX FINALS: SIGIT AND WIJAYA TURN BACK MALAYSIANS
** 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 **
December 14, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Sigit Budiarto of Indonesia and his
partner Chandra Wijaya succeeded in turning back a strong challenge from
Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock of Malaysia in the highlight match of the day
to take the men's doubles title and US$26,600 in prize money at the World
Grand Prix Finals in Jakarta, Indonesia this evening.
Budiarto and Wijaya had fallen behind 3-9 in the first game but staged an
incredible comeback to pass Cheah and Yap 14-9 as Yap tired and began to make
many errors. The Malaysians though did not give up. They staged a comeback of
their own and forced deuce at 14-all with putaways by the short-statured Yap
and smashes by the taller Cheah.
Yap gave the Malaysian side a short-lived lead at 1-0 in the tiebreak, but
the Malaysians could not hold the serve. After an exchange of services, Wijaya
set up a scoring kill shot by Sigit to put the Indonesians on the scoreboard
1-1. The Indonesians then added their second point when they got the
Malaysians to hit a clearing shot long.
At game point again, Sigit served nice and low and got Yap into a quick
exchange of rapidfire shots. Sigit got the better of Yap in this exchange and
scored the game-winner 3-1 (17-15) as he induced Yap into hitting a reply
In the second game, the Indonesians scored first but Cheah and Yap quickly
equalized 1-all. At this juncture, the match was halted for a few moments as
there was a problem with the scoreboard and the umpire called in the
tournament referee to get the scoreboard operating properly.
On resumption of play, Cheah and Yap jumped out to a 4-1 advantage on errors
by the Indonesians as well as good net play by Yap. After an exchange of
serves, the Indonesians crept back into the game and tied the score at 4-all.
Sigit and Wijaya moved into the lead 5-4 on a disputed shot that was called in
by a line judge. Cheah and Yap then regained the serve and equalized 5-all on
a Yap shot that ticked the net and fell over into the Indonesian side of the
After several scoreless rallies, the Malaysians again notched a point with a
Yap killshot at the net. Sigit and Wijaya then stopped the Malaysians from
scoring again when they gained the attack and Wijaya set up a Sigit putaway
with several stinging smashes.
The Indonesians though were unable to tally a point as the Malaysians were
able to turn defense into attack. Cheah finished off the Indonesian service
turn with an off-speed smash that caught Sigit and Wijaya asleep.
On their turn at serve, the Malaysians scored several times to pull away to
a 9-5 advantage, but the Indonesians regained the service and closed in at
8-9 on fine plays by Sigit and an error by Cheah.
Cheah and Yap stopped the Indonesian rally and then pulled away again 11-8
with a Cheah smash. An error by Sigit gave the Malaysians another point
followed by still another when Cheah and Yap concentrated their attack on
Sigit and then all of a sudden smashed at Wijaya.
Cheah and Yap were now in command 13-8. They then managed to induce Wijaya
into hitting a reply out-of-bounds to get to game point at 14-8.
Sigit and Wijaya though were not done. They got Yap to hit into the net to
wipe out the Malaysian first serve and then stopped the Malaysians on the
The Indonesians closed the gap 9-14 on a shot that Cheah allowed to land in,
then 10-14 and then 11-14 on a good low serve followed by a smash attack off
the lift return.
Cheah and Yap bore down and got the service back. On their service turn, they
engaged the Indonesians in a furious rally of smashes and blocks until a
pressured Sigit hit a shuttle into the net to give Cheah and Yap the game at
In the decider, both sides played it close early on and were tied at 4-all
when Sigit caught fire and started to play inspired badminton. His dynamic
play specially at the net helped his side pull away to an 8-4 advantage
despite a good effort by Cheah and Yap.
The Indonesians moved to 9-4, 10-4, 11-4 and then 12-4 leads primarily with
a relentless attack, featuring Wijaya at the rear and Sigit dominating at the
net or, at times, Sigit at the back and Wijaya in front.
Cheah and Yap stopped the Indonesians momentarily several times during this
string of points but were unable to tally a marker of their own.
An incredible leaping shot by Sigit put the Indonesians further in command at
13-4 and then they reached championship point at 14-4 when the Malaysians
ended a rally by hitting a shot wide.
Sigit and Wijaya were now on the verge of winning the title, but the
Malaysians held fast and got the service back. Cheah and Yap tallied two
points to get to 6-14 but that was all for the tiring Malaysians.
Sigit was all over the court on the next point defending against the Malaysian
shots and he and Wijaya were able to wipe out the Malaysian first serve. Then
a tired Yap hit an errant shot to end his side's turn at serve.
At their second chance at championship point, Sigit and Wijaya were able to
gain the attack. With the Indonesian crowd screaming and cheering at the
furious and fast-paced rally, Wijaya unloaded a smash that eluded the defenses
of Cheah and Yap and that finally gave the world champions from Indonesia the
World Grand Prix Finals men's doubles title.
With their victory, Sigit and Wijaya salvaged some pride for the host
Indonesians who were only recently so dominant in the sport of badminton but
who must now play second fiddle to the successful Chinese, winners of four
out of the five 1997 World Grand Prix Finals titles and of a treasure chest
full of money.
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