JAPAN OPEN: GADE, GONG TRIUMPH IN FINALS
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January 18, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - 20-year old Peter Gade Christensen of
Denmark who ended 1997 surprisingly on top of the men's singles world rankings
in badminton showed the world today that his number one status was not an
accident. The young Danish ace, seeded first in the competition, defeated Luo
Yigang of China convincingly this afternoon in the championship match of the
200,000 US dollar Japan Open tournament at the Yoyogi Stadium in Tokyo and
took home the sport's first major men's singles title in 1998.
Gade was in full command in the first game, racing to a 6-1 lead with quick
attacking plays against the hapless Luo. A Gade error broke the Danish string
of points and Luo was able to put up two points to close the gap slightly at
6-3. Gade then took over again and finished the Chinese off in the opening
In the second frame, Gade again pulled away early at 5-1, but Luo came back
as the Dane had problems adjusting his shots to the drift, either hitting the
shuttle long for an error or short for a Luo scoring shot. The Chinese player
pulled even at 6-all before Gade finally made the adjustment to his game. The
Dane pulled away again but Luo fought back to tie the score at 11-all. Gade
though was too much for Luo in the end game. The young Dane pounded away at
the Chinese defense and came away with the four points he needed to take the
second set at 15-11.
Women's singles second seed Gong Zhichao of China scored an upset over top
seed and world champion Ye Zhaoying, also from China, in the women's singles
final. Gong defeated an erratic and off-form Ye 11-1 and 11-4.
The match was surprisingly easy for Gong who pulled away to a 5-0 lead in the
first as the world champion made many errors with her overhead shots. Ye
sneaked in one point but the first frame was Gong's all the way.
The second set was very similiar. Gong pulled away to a 6-0 advantage before
Ye woke up and started to get more of her shots into play. Gong though had
too much of a lead and reached championship point at 10-3. Ye fought off one
match point and scored once more before Gong took the service back and tallied
the match winning point on a Ye clear that once again sailed long.
In the men's doubles final, Malaysia's Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kin Hock
defeated Denny Kantono and Antonius Iriantho of Indonesia to shut Indonesia
out of the Japan Open titles.
The Malaysian duo kept the pressure on Kantono and Antonius throughout the
match with the diminutive Yap wowing the audience with his high leaping power
shots. The Malaysian defense also frustrated the Indonesians and the pair of
Antonius and Kantono soon wilted under the powerful Malaysian attack to lose
in straight sets 15-9 and 15-7.
According to a member of the Malaysian contingent, Cheah and Yap attributed
much of their success at the Japan Open to being able to carry out the game
plans laid out by Malaysian head coach Morten Frost.
In mixed doubles, second seeds Kim Dong-Moon and Ra Kyung-Min of Korea beat
top seeds Jens Eriksen and Marlene Thomsen of Denmark in the championship
match 15-12 and 15-9.
The all-Chinese women's doubles title match was not played, because Qin
Yiyuan, one of the finalists, woke up with a high fever this morning and was
not able to play. With Qin and partner Tang Yongshu unable to make it to the
court, world champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun took the title on a walkover.
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