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SWEDISH OPEN: KOREANS REPEAT OVER WORLD NUMBER ONES
March 7, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Korea's Jang Hye Ock and Ra Kyung Min today
defeated the current world number one women's doubles pair, Tang Yongshu and
Qin Yiyuan of China, in the semifinals of the Swedish Open badminton
championships at the Arena Kupolen in Borlange and notched their second win in
a row over the Chinese aces in a space of two weeks.
Jang and Ra who have recently been paired together by the Korean coaching
staff had defeated Tang and Qin in the finals of the Asian Uber Cup
preliminaries in Manila on February 22 in a three-setter 15-9, 4-15 and 12-15.
In today's match which was a 2-hour marathon, it was the Chinese pair that
gained the upper hand early, taking the first game easily 15-6 as the recently
paired-up Koreans could not get their combination clicking smoothly. Jang and
Ra though got through some of their problems in the second and tied up the
match with a 15-8 game win.
The decider was nip-and-tuck with both pairs scrambling back shots. The game
went into a 5-point setting at 13-all. The Chinese and the Koreans battled for
every point in the tiebreak with Jang and Ra finally coming out the victors at
5-3 (18-16 game score).
Jang and Ra will face another Chinese pair, Liu Zhong and Huang Nanyan, in
the women's doubles final tomorrow. Liu and Huang had an easy semifinal,
outclassing Tammy Jenkins and Rhona Robertson of New Zealand 15-4 and 15-2.
In the men's doubles semifinals, the up-and-coming Chinese pair of Yang Ming
and Zhang Jun and the Indonesian combination of world champion Chandra Wijaya
and temporary partner Tony Gunawan came through. Yang and Zhang overcame the
more experienced Thailanders Siripong Siripool and Pramote Teerawiwatana in
a grueling 75-minute three-setter 15-11, 14-17 and 15-5, while Wijaya and
Gunawan had an easier time against Kim Dong Moon and Ha Tae Kwon of Korea,
beating them 15-3 and 15-11.
In men's singles, top-seed Luo Yigang of China turned back a stiff challenge
from Thomas Johansson of Sweden and qualified for tomorrow's championship
match with a 15-7, 13-15 and 15-4 victory. Luo will face teammate Chen Gang
who defeated a sluggish Ong Ewe Hock of Malaysia 15-2 and 15-9. Ong was the
The world number one in women's singles, Gong Zhichao of China, defeated
teammate Zhang Ning 12-9 and 11-4 in her semifinal match. Korea's Kim Ji Hyun
took the other semifinal. She was miles ahead of Li Feng, a former Chinese
national team player who now carries the New Zealand colours, 8-0, when Li
became unable to continue with the match.
Gong will have payback on her mind in tomorrow's women's singles championship
match against Kim. Two weeks ago at the Asian Uber Cup preliminaries in
Manila, Kim had upset Gong 4-11, 12-11 and 11-8.
Korea's Kim Dong Moon and Ra Kyung Min easily took this afternoon's mixed
doubles championship match with a 15-3 and 15-3 victory over China's Chen Gang
and Tang Yongshu, both of whom were saving themselves for tough semifinal
matches later on. Chen was booked in the men's singles semifinals against
second-seed Ong Ewe Hock while Tang was in the women's doubles semis with
partner Qin Yiyuan.
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