** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by YANG YANG BADMINTON PRODUCTS. HELP keep NEW SHUTTLENWS going - buy our sponsor's products. **

February 21, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Badminton men's team powerhouses China and Malaysia blanked their opponents at today's semifinals at the Thomas Cup (world men's team championships) Asian Zone qualifier in Pasig City outside of Manila in the Philippines. China trounced Japan 5 to 0, and Malaysia did the same to a second-string Korean squad.

In the China-Japan tussle, singles ace Sun Jun beat Keita Matsuda 15-4 and 15-4 in the first singles, and Luo Yigang defeated Fumihiko Machida 15-9 and 15-2 in the second match.

Chen Gang breezed past Yuzo Kubota in the first game of the third singles, gaining a 14-0 lead before letting up and allowing the Japanese player a solitary point and then closing the game out 15-1. However, Chen relaxed too much and Kubota got his touch specially at the net where his spinners proved troubling to the Chinese player. Kubota pulled away to a 10-6 lead on many Chen errors and kept the four-point advantage going deep into the set. Chen slowly pulled even as Kubota tired. Kubota though had game point at 14-11 but Chen started to play carefully and cut down on his errors and poor shot selection. Chen pulled even at 14-all and then won in the three-point setting at 17-14 on two errors from the tired Japanese player.

Liu Yong and Zhang Wei then beat Shinji Ohta and Keita Matsuda 15-6 ad 15-5 in the first doubles. Ge Cheng and Tao Xiaoqiang followed with a methodical 15-4 and 15-1 victory over Seiichi Watanabe and Tadashi Ohtsuka.

China's other singles ace, Dong Jiong, was not named to the lineup today and was rested.

In the Malaysia-Korea semifinal, Malaysia overwhelmed the rookie-laden Korean lineup. Ong Ewe Hock opened with a 15-5 and 15-5 singles victory over Jang Chun Wong. Yong Hock Kin followed with a 15-3 and 15-1 win over Yim Bong Eun, then Rashid Sidek posted a 15-5 and 15-2 beating of Jun Jong Bae.

In the first doubles, Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kin Hock had a battle with Yoo Yong Sung and Hwang Sun Ho. The two pairs had many rapid-fire exchanges but the Koreans were put on the defensive too often and despite superb blocking, their defenses often collapsed under a series of booming Malaysian smashes topped off by a net kill or steep smash from midcourt. Cheah and Yap took the match 15-8 and 15-5.

Tan Kim Her and Rosman Razak took the second doubles, beating Yim Bong Eun and Jun Jong Bae 15-9 and 15-1.

With their wins today, China and Korea have taken two of the three Thomas Cup Finals spots allotted to the Asian Zone qualifying tourney, although they will battle tomorrow for top honors at the Asian Zone qualifier. Japan and Korea will be playing for the third Thomas Cup Finals berth.