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March 14, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Gong Zhichao of China, the world's number one women's singles and the top-seed at the All-England Open badminton championships underway at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, was beaten in one of last night's semifinal matches by teammate Zhang Ning, 10-12 and 11-8. Gong was hampered through most of the match by a pulled thigh muscle and she was playing with pain.

The world number one, though, did not go down to Zhang without a fight and battled her practice partner and close friend for every point. However, in the crucial moments, her movement was restricted and she could not return Zhang's crosscourt shots effectively.

In the other women's singles semifinal, Ye Zhaoying, also of China, the world champion and defending All-England titleist, came back from losing the opener to Camilla Martin of Denmark to win 4-11, 11-8 and 11-3.

Martin came close to toppling the world champion. After winning the first game from an erratic Ye at 4-11, the Dane had her chances in the second but with the score tied at 8-all, Martin serving, Ye hit a fortunate smash that ticked the top of the net and fell over into the Danish player's court.

Ye took off from there while Martin, having lost her chance, did not recover. Ye scored the next three points to take the second and then raced to a large lead in the decider. The Dane did manage to squeeze in three points as Ye relaxed a bit with victory in sight. The lead though was much too much and Ye then quickly finished Martin off at 11-3.

In the men's singles semifinals, Sun Jun, still another Chinese player and the second-seed at the tournament, easily turned back a lacklustre effort from teammate Luo Yigang and took a place in the finals with a 15-5 and 15-2 victory.

In the other men's singles semifinal, Hendrawan of Indonesia got off to a quick start in the first set and then held on to his lead when Ong Ewe Hock of Malaysia got his game going. Ong staged a strong comeback but Hendrawan managed to score the game winner at 15-13.

Ong really got his stair-climbing motion jumpsmash going in the second game. After he and Hendrawan had exchanged points to reach 4-all, Ong took control of the play with powerful smashes. The Malaysian scored ten straight points to reach a commanding 14-4 lead. Hendrawan stopped the Malaysian surge momentarily but then Ong took the serve back and scored the game winner at 15-5.

In the decider, it was still Ong in control. The Malaysian won 15-6 to gain his first All-England final.

In the men's doubles semifinals, world champion Chandra Wijaya and new partner Tony Gunawan of Indonesia eliminated the reigning Olympic champions Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Subagja, also from Indonesia, 15-10 and 15-10. Koreans Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yong Sung won the other semifinal, beating Lee Wan Wah and Choong Tan Fook of Malaysia 15-2 and 15-11.

World women's doubles champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun of China repeated their mastery over Indonesia's Resiana Zelin and Eliza Nathanael 15-7 and 15-8, while Korea's Ra Kyung Min and Jang Hye Ock for the third tournament in a row proved themselves to be superior to China's Qin Yiyuan and Tang Yongshu 17-15 and 15-5.

Qin and Tang are ranked number one in the world and were seeded first at the tournament, but the Koreans had beaten them previously in Pasig City, Philippines three weeks ago at the finals of the Asian Uber Cup preliminaries and in Borlange, Sweden last weekend at the finals of the Swedish Open.

In mixed doubles, top-seeds Koreans Kim Dong Moon and Ra Kyung Min put out Denmark's Jon Holst-Christensen and Ann Jorgensen 15-5 and 15-9 in one of the semifinals. In the other semifinal, Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen kept the Danish colors flying by beating Trikus Heryanto and Minarti Timur of Indonesia with some ease 15-5 and 15-4.