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THOMAS CUP FINALS: BIG FOUR CLINCH SEMIFINAL BERTHS
May 18, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - The four seeded teams in the world men's
team championhips of badminton - the Thomas Cup Finals - all clinched berths
in Friday's semifinals with victories today. China and Malaysia roared into
the final four with shutouts while Indonesia and Denmark stumbled slightly,
each dropping a match in their separate ties.
In the afternoon session contested by Group B teams, Malaysia crushed the
Netherlands 5 matches to none, while Indonesia beat Korea 4 to 1. Group A
leader China trounced Hong Kong 5 to 0 and co-leader Denmark defeated
Sweden 4 to 1.
The skill and depth of the Malaysian squad was too much for the Dutch team.
Ong Ewe Hock clobbered Jeroen Van Dijk 15-3 and 15-6. Cheah Soon Kit and Yap
Kim Hock trounced Quinten Van Dalm and Dennis Lens 15-5 and 15-9. Yong Hock
Kin beat Dicky Palyama 15-8 and 15-6. Choong Tan Fook and Tan Kim Her whipped
Norbert Van Barneveld and Joris Van Soerland 15-7 and 15-12. Wong Choon Hann
finished for the Malaysians with a 15-4 and 15-12 win over Gerben Bruijstens.
In the Indonesia-Korea encounter, Heryanto Arbi started very poorly against
Korean Hwang Sun Ho. Hwang played very well, specially at the net, while Arbi
made many mistakes. Arbi also had problems with cramps in his right calf and
had difficulty launching himself into the air for his trademark jumpsmashes.
The Korean player raced to a 9-1 advantage before Arbi buckled down and began
to assert himself with an array of jumpsmashes, kills and netshots. Hwang
though managed to stop Arbi occasionally and scored several points of his own
to stay ahead 13-10 and 14-10. Arbi then stepped up his game, stopping Hwang
at game point several times and scoring the next 7 points to take the first
set. In the second game, Arbi was unstoppable despite several mild attacks of
cramps and he won in a runaway over a demoralized Hwang 15-0.
Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky followed Arbi's comeback win with a 15-9 and
15-4 victory over Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yung Sung. Marleve Mainaky then romped
over Jang Chun Woong 15-2 and 15-1 to give Indonesia an unbeatable 3-0 lead.
In the second doubles, world champions Candra Wijaya and Budiarto Sigit fell
to Ha Tae Kwon and Kang Kyung Jin despite having waltzed to an easy first game
win at 15-6. The Korean smash defense improved in the second game, handling
the Wijaya-Sigit attack and often turning the attack into their favor. Ha and
Kang took the next set 15-9 and the closely-contested decider 18-15.
!993 world champion Joko Suprianto won the final match, beating Jun Jong Bae
15-2 and 15-1.
In the evening session contested by Group A teams, top seed China played Hong
Kong without ace singles player Sun Jun and with two reshuffled doubles pairs.
Luo Yigang took the first singles match with a 15-6 and 15-4 pasting of Tam
Kai Chuen. Liu Yong and Yu Jinhao then beat Ma Che Kong and Chow Kin Man 15-9
In the second singles, Hong Kong's Ng Wei gave the home crowd several thrills
when he scored point after point against Dong Jiong to gain a 9-3 advantage.
Dong though may have only been toying with Ng and the crowd. The Chinese
player did not allow Ng another score in the first game, which he won 15-9.
Dong also took the second set, playing just hard enough for a 15-8 victory.
Zhang Jun and Zhang Wei beat Tam Lok Tin and Yau Kwun Yuen in the second
doubles 15-2 and 15-9. Chen Gang completed the rout with a 15-0 and 15-10
win over Liu Kwok Wa.
In the other Group A matchup, Denmark took the measure of Scandinavian
Danish number one Peter Gade hammered Henrik Bengtsson 15-4 and 15-5. Jon
Holst and Michael Sogaard followed with an almost similiar 15-3 and 15-4 win
over Frederik Bergstrom and Henrik Andersson.
And then Poul-Erik Hoyer surprisingly lost to Thomas Johansson in the second
singles. Hoyer, Denmark's mainstay in the 1996 Thomas Cup Finals, was an easy
15-5 winner in the first game. In the second, he was ahead and seemed to be on
his way to posting his twelfth consecutive win over Johansson. The Swedish
player however fought back, using his 6-foot 5-inch height to rain down
steeply angled shots and his long legs and arms to retrieve Hoyer's replies.
Hoyer also began to make mistakes as he tried to push the shuttle past
Johansson. Johansson began to close in, but Hoyer still managed to reach match
point. The tall Swede was able to stop Hoyer and then took the second set in a
In the decider, Johannson was pumped up from his comeback in the second set,
while Hoyer was still struggling to solve the tall Swede's game. Johansson
continued to play well, but Hoyer was too error-prone, allowing the Swede to
After the stunning Hoyer loss, Jim Laugesen and Thomas Stavngaard scored the
clincher for Denmark when they beat Jens Olsson and Rikard Magnusson 15-8 and
15-7. Kenneth Jonassen then mopped up for Denmark with a 15-6 and 15-3 defeat
of Daniel Eriksson.
With their victories today, China and Denmark booked the two semifinal places
out of Group A. Malaysia and Indonesia took the semifinal spots allotted to
Group B. Wednesday's ties between China and Denmark and between Malaysia and
Indonesia will decide Friday's semifinal matchups with the Group A winner
playing the Group B runner-up and the Group B winner facing off against the
Group A runner-up.
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