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March 14, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - China's Sun Jun today was the undisputed master of the badminton court at the men's singles final of the All-England Open championships in Birmingham. Sun, the second-seed at the tournament, easily defeated Ong Ewe Hock of Malaysia 15-1 and 15-7.

Sun combined his great speed around the court with an excellent smash defense plus very tight net spinning shots and a stinging jumpsmash to race to a 7-0 advantage in the first game. Sun's defense frustrated Ong's game plan which was to attack. Time after time, Sun flicked back Ong's smashes and would then score on an error by a demoralized Ong and on an outright winner off a poor Ong reply.

The Malaysians in the crowd came ready to cheer Ong on but were quickly silenced by Sun Jun's display of racket skills. Down 0-7, Ong finally scored when he induced Sun into a weak backhand clear which he then pounded to the floor with a vicious jumpsmash.

That point was all Ong would tally in the first game. Sun was in control of the game. He scored his eighth on an angled jumpsmash off a short lift from the Malaysian, his ninth on a net spinner error from Ong, his tenth on a pressured driveshot from Ong which found the net. Points eleven to fourteen for Sun followed in quick succession. Sun then scores the game winner when a hurried Ong hit a semidrive, semismash into the net.

In the second, Sun was still in command, racing off to a 4-1 lead. Ong was so frustrated by Sun's defense against his jumpsmashes that, during a towel break, he kept glancing at coach Morten Frost as if asking for advice.

Sun kept up the quick pace and the scoring. He tallied his eighth point with a rally which he ended with a succession of jumpsmashes. Again, the hapless Ong could do nothing against the skills of the Chinese player. Again, the hapless Ong looked at coach Frost during a towel break, his eyes sending out the question "How do I cope against this hot player?".

Finally Ong strung some points together as he started to play more crossing shots. He upped his score to 7 but Sun was never really troubled by the attempted comeback and he closed out the match 15-7 when he induced Ong into a punch clear that went out of bounds.

In the mixed doubles final that opened the action on championship day, Kim Dong Moon and Ra Kyung Min of Korea took their third ttle of the year, beating Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen of Denmark in a three-set match that was interrupted several times by lighting problems at the arena. The Koreans took the first rather easily 15-2, but Sogaard and Olsen, aided by a coaching session during ten-minute interruption, came back to take the second 15-11 behind efective net play by Rikke Olsen.

In the dedider, Kim and Ra regained control of the play and beat the Danes 15-5.

In the women's singles, world champion and 1997 All-England titleholder Ye Zhaoying of China successfully defended her crown, defeating teammate Zhang Ning. Ye had her sliced drops and tight net shots on song early and was an easy first game winner at 11-5. She relaxed in the early part of the second, staking Zhang to a 5-0 lead on careless play. Ye then clamped down and caught up to Zhang at 5-all. Zhang had some momentum going though and she refused to give up even after Ye had taken the lead at 7-5. Zhang came back to tie at 7-all before Ye pressured Zhang into several errors with tight net spinners and sliced shots. Ye finished Zhang off at 11-8 when she got Zhang to lift the shuttle long.

World women's doubles champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun made it three titles for China when they beat Korea's Ra Kyung Min and Jang Hye Ock 15-7 and 15-7. The champions were troubled by the Korean play in the early going with Ra and Jang taking an early 4-1 lead on errors by Ge Fei. The Chinese then settled down and got their scoring machine on the roll with Gu powering from the back and Ge killing the shuttle from the front court.

The Koreans though were no pushovers. Most points came only after a struggle with smashes and clears and net shots and drives being exchanged in many long rallies. The Chinese though found the weak spots in the Korean combination, clears over the short-statured Jang, moving her to the backcourt where she could not hit any steeply-angled smashes and away from the midcourt and net areas where her height made her drive shots more effective, and killshots to the body of the taller Ra.

In the men's doubles final, Korea's Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yong Sung used a super-quick flat driving game combined with superb smash defending and powerful jumpsmashes and netkills to subdueworld champion Chandra Wijaya and new partner Tony Gunawan. The Koreans also took advantage of the nervousness of Gunawan, playing in his first five-star final. They directed many shots in his direction and the strategy paid off in spades as Gunawan made error after error.

Despite good play by Wijaya and by Gunawan after he settled down as well as some nervous errors by the Koreans, Lee and Yoo won the match 15-10 and 15-10 and took home a second 1998 All-England title for Korea.

And sadly for Indonesia and Denmark, two of the powers in badminton, they were shut out of the All-England titles for the second year in a row.