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February 20, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - The men's badminton team from the Netherlands, aided by untimely outbursts of emotion by Swedish players, today upended the Swedes at the semifinals of the Thomas Cup (world men's team championship) European Zone qualifying tournament in Sandefjord, Norway 4 matches to 1.

Singles ace Jeroen van Dijk led the Dutch side with an come-from-behind opening match victory over Rikard Magnusson 4-15, 15-12 and 15-7. Young Dicky Palyama beat Henrik Bengtsson in a tight contest 6-15, 15-10 and 18-13, and Gerben Bruijstens defeated Thomas Johansson 17-16 and 15-11. Dennis Lens and Quinten van Dalm beat Par Gunnar Jonsson and Peter Axelsson 15-8 and 15-12 in the first men's doubles match, while Swedes Jens Olsson and Henrik Andersson managed to turn the tables on Norbert van Barneveld and Jurgen van Leewen 15-4 and 15-9 in the second men's doubles contest.

In the van Dijk-Magnusson match, Magnusson looked like a certain winner, winning the first game easily and leading in the second 10-5 when, initially unnoticed by the umpire, he made the mistake of serving from the wrong side. In the short rally that followed, the Swede was in control when the umpire realised what had transpired and called for a let. Magnusson was upset by the late call and lost the next series of rallies, allowing van Dijk to come back and take the second 15-12.

In the decider, Magnusson's game was still put off by the call and van Dijk raced to a 12-0 before the Swede settled down. However, his efforts came too late and he could not overcome van Dijk's big lead.

In the Bruijstens-Johansson match, with the Dutch holding a 2 matches to 0 advantage, Bruijstens edged out Johansson in a tight first game 17-16. The two were engaged in a close contest in the second but the Dutch player had gained the lead at 11-9 and had taken the serve back. Johansson complained to the umpire that Bruijstens was committing a foot fault on Johansson's short serve, moving forward prior to the Swede's service delivery.

A boiling Johansson got the service back and then smashed his way to a point, despite a rush return of service from the Dutchman. The tall Swede again complained to the umpire but this time was more physical, hitting the umpire's chair. The umpire gave Johansson a warning on a code of conduct violation and then a point penalty. This led to a larger brouhaha.

The tournament referee was called in and he calmed things down a bit, reversing the point penalty against Johansson. The match continued but the Swede was too emotionally wrought to play his normal game and lost 15-11.

The Dutch victory assures them of a place in the Thomas Cup Finals currently slated for mid-May in Hong Kong. The emotional Swedes must win over England in the third-place playoff tomorrow to get a ticket to the Finals.

England was a 5-0 loser to favorite Denmark in their semifinals today, although the English, realising that Denmark was too strong for them, did not field their strongest combinations and chose to save their best for the third-place playoff.

Denmark's Peter Gade waltzed over Colin Haughton in the opening singles 15-0 and 15-2. Hoyer-Larsen beat Mark Constable 18-14 and 15-7, and substitute Kenneth Jonassen disposed of Peter Bush 15-4 and 15-6.

In men's doubles, Jesper Larsen and Jens Eriksen defeated the scratch duo of Chris Hunt and Nathan Robertson 7-15, 15-3 and 15-6, and the pair of Michael Sogaard and Martin Lundgaard Hansen beat Julian Robertson and Ian Pearson 17-18, 17-14 and 17-14 in a tightly fought but meaningless contest.