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May 22, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Three Thomas Cup rookies, Yong Hock Kin and Roslin Hashim of Malaysia and Hendrawan of Indonesia, led their teams into Sunday's world men's team championships finale by posting key victories in the semifinal ties today at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong. Yong upended Olympic champion Poul-Erik Hoyer in the second singles slot and Hashim beat Kenneth Jonassen in the crucial fifth match to take Malayia to a 3-2 decision over Denmark this afternoon. Hendrawan scored an unexpected straight games victory over Luo Yigang in the pivotal second singles setto to give defending champion and doubles superpower Indonesia the singles win it needed to get past the favoured Chinese team and the Chinese trio of top singles players this evening.

Malaysia started out on the wrong foot in their semifinal tie with Denmark. Ong Ewe Hock, playing in the first singles spot, lost to world number one Peter Gade 7-15 and 10-15 in a match that took a little over 35 minutes.

In the first doubles match, Malaysia's master strategist Morten Frost fielded Cheah Soon Kit and Choong Tan Fook, teaming the ailing Yap Kim Hock, Cheah's regular partner, with Olympic Games semifinalist Tan Kim Her in the second doubles slot.

Cheah and Choong played well at the right moments, although there were many times when they would end up on the same side and allow their Danish opponents Jon Holst and Michael Sogaard to score or end a service turn with shots to an open space. Choong though did his part when it counted, controlling the net with spins and dumps, defending well against Danish smashes and firing smashes of his own.

The Malaysian pair and the Danish tandem fought hard for victory in the first doubles. Cheah and Choong took a small lead early in the first. Then the Danes climbed back to tie at 8-all, 9-all and then 10-all. A concerted Malaysian attack took them to 11-10 when Holst blocked one wide. Choong added a point when he blasted a series of smashes, finally scoring with one down the middle. Points thirteen and fourteen came when Holst hit a backhand drive into the net and Sogaard netted a frontcourt tap shot. A service fault call on Cheah halted the Malaysian string. After Sogaard scored on a jumpsmash, the Malaysians got the serve back and then scored the game winner when Cheah's crosscourt drive found an unguarded spot on the Danish end.

The two pairs again played each other even in the second game. With the score tied at 12-all, the Danes tallied a point when Cheah could not handle a succession of of drives from Holst. The Danes then pressured Cheah and Choong into a series of errors to win the second set 15-12.

The Malaysians poured it on early in the decider and gained a 4-0 and then a 9-2 advantage. But back came Holst and Sogaard, scoring 7 times to put the score at 9-all. Cheah and Choong then tallied two to move ahead. And again Holst and Sogaard came back to tie at 12-all. They grabbed the lead at 13-12, defending well against Cheah's smash attack and pressuring Cheah into hitting a drive into the net.

Cheah forced deuce at 13-all with a crosscourt drive to an open space.

Choong opened the scoring in the tiebreak with a delicate short serve that landed in. The next Malaysian point came when Sogaard returned Cheah's short serve long. The Danes got the serve and, on their second serve, Holst scored with a smash.

The action on the court during the match was so frantic and quick that the adhesive tape holding the rubberized playing surface to the stadium floor needed fixing for the second time.

After the short break, Cheah and Choong got the service back and scored when Cheah's accidental block of a Danish smash floated up, ticked the net and landed in. A Sogaard round-the-head drive mistake and the Malaysians were at match point.

Cheah started what turned out to be the final rally with a short serve to Sogaard. The two sides exchanged drives until Choong was forced into a backhand clear. Sogaard smashed and the Malaysians drove the shuttle back at Sogaard. Sogaard's reply was a loose drive that Cheah read well. He rushed in and blasted the shuttle at Sogaard's feet for the winner.

The scoreline: 15-11, 12-15, 18-14.

Hoyer then came on court to face Yong in the second singles. Almost everyone in the stadium thought this would be a Danish win. But Hoyer started too slowly against his fellow lefthander in the first game. Yong raced to a 5-0 lead before Hoyer woke up and scored 5 to pull even. The game was nip-and-tuck for a while but Hoyer was having problems with keeping the shuttle inbounds, specially on round-the-head shots. As well, Yong had his tight net spinners working.

Ahead at 12-11, Yong pressured Hoyer into a backhand error into the net. In the next rally, Hoyer misjudged a Yong lift and allowed it to land inbounds. Yong then scored the game winner with a fast drive in Hoyer's direction.

In the second set, Yong once more raced to a 5-0 lead and then built it up to a 10-2 advantage. But Hoyer, who staged a miracle comeback two years ago at the same stage of the 1996 Thomas Cup Finals, climbed back, pulled even at 10-all and then took the lead as Yong began to make mistakes.

Yong though recovered and forced deuce at 13-all. In the tiebreak, the Dane went to town, with his tight net spinners setting up scoring opportunities. Hoyer took the setting 5-1 with the last point coming on a backhand kill set up by a tight net shot.

Was this going to be another Hoyer miracle comeback victory?

With two years gone and Morten Frost, Denmark's chief coach during the 1996 Thomas Cup campaign now guiding Malaysia, it was not to be.

Although Hoyer scored the first point in the decider, it was Yong who once more pulled away early. Hoyer did fight back to tie and even lead briefly at 6-5, but his problems with the round-the-head and shuttle control persisted. Yong caught up and pulled away again 9-6 on both pressured and unforced Hoyer mistakes.

Hoyer mounted another run, catching Yong at 10-all when Yong misread the drift and allowed a Hoyer lift to land. Once more, Yong pulled away to a 14-10 lead on Hoyer miscues and his own tight net play.

The Olympic champion stopped Yong at match point again and again but he was only able to score one point after a series of service turns.

The end for Hoyer came with yet another shot into the net, allowing Yong and Morten Frost the upset victory after 66 minutes of play at 15-11, 14-18 and 15-11.

Malaysia was now surprisingly ahead 2 matches to 1.

On court came Yap Kim Hock and Tan Kim Her, not one of Malaysia's regular combinations, but probably the best they could field in the number two doubles slot.

Unfortunately for Yap and tan, they did not have enough to contend with the pair of Jens Eriksen and Jesper Larsen for two games. They had enough for the a game and three-fourths. They played the first game even-steven to a 14-all setting and then reached game point at 2-0 before Eriksen's height and reach at the front court put an end to their string. Yap and Tan lost the first game 16-17 with Tan giving up the final point, forced into an errant arched-back clear by a deceptive crosscourt lift from Eriksen.

Yap and Tan still had enough juice to pull away to a 6-1 lead in the second set. Again, Eriksen was too tall at the net, poking and tapping and killing to help his side to catch up and then to lead at 10-6. The Malaysian pair fought back to close in at 9-10, but Larsen's good short serve put the Danes a little further ahead 11-9. Eriksen's shotmaking increased the Danish lead to 13-9.

The Malaysians closed the gap to 12-13 on a Yap kill. Again though, Eriksen stood tall. An Eriksen kill took away the Malaysian service turn. Another Eriksen kill set up by Larsen's smashing and the Danes were at match point.

The final rally was short and quick. Larsen served low to Yap and his net shot return attempt was so tight that it did not go over. The Danes won 15-12.

The score in the tie was now 2 matches apiece.

For the deciding fifth match, Malaysia had entered Roslin Hashim and Denmark had named Kenneth Jonassen, the hero in the upset win over China on Wednesday.

Hashim got off to a good start using his athletism and quickness to gain a 3-0 and then 5-2 advantage on the tall and slower Jonassen. The Dane however played steadily and caught up to Hashim at 6-6, pressuring the Malaysian into a series of miscues.

Jonassen went ahead 7-6 on a crosscourt smash and then pulled away to a 12-7 advantage on smashes and Hashim mistakes. Hashim made a run at Jonassen's lead and knotted the score at 12-all mainly with several jumpsmashes. Hashim got a nose in front at 13-12 when Jonassen let a lift land in.

The Dane stopped Hashim with a net spinner and jumpsmash combination and equalized at 13-all when Hashim sent a kill into the net after Jonassen had slipped.

In the setting, it was Jonassen who came out on top 5-2 (18-15 game score) with smashes and Hashim mistakes.

In the second game, Hashim raced to a 9-1 advantage as Jonassen's touch deserted him. The Dane tried to fight back but he made too many mistakes, both forced and unforced. Hashim won the second 15-5.

In the decider, both players could not score in the early going. Jonassen finally broke through when his smash defense pressured Hashim into a wide round-the-head smash attempt. Jonassen added a second point with a crosscourt sliced smash.

Hashim then got on the scoreboard with a Jonassen lift that went wide then a jumpsmash of a short Jonassen backhand clear. The two exchanged points until 6-all when Hashim pulled away 13-6, 14-7 and 1408. At match point, Hashim served short and after an exchange of net shots, Jonassen failed in his attempt to spin one over.

Hashim had won 15-8 and the jubilant Malaysians were in the finals.

In the China-Indonesia semifinal tie, Sun Jun opened for China with a 17-18, 15-4 and 15-1 victory over Heryanto Arbi. The first game was close but Arbi's jumpsmashes and kills provided the winning difference. In the second game, Arbi's bandaged right calf began to trouble him and he was not as quick about the court. Sun moved him around with a variety of shots and Arbi often was not able to reach Sun's crosscourt placements.

After the second game, Arbi limped off the court for the five-minute break. There was a rushing to-and-fro in the Indonesian corner as they hurriedly attended to Arbi's calf.

In the decider, Arbi still had problems moving and Sun capitalized, racing to a 12-0 lead despute valiant attempts by Arbi to be competitive.

Arbi finally scored a point at 1-12 on vintage Arbi tactics - a jumpsmash then a running killshot.

But that was all for Arbi. Sun closed him out 13-1 with a crosscourt net shot, 14-1 on a wide Arbi jumpsmash attempt and then 15-1 an a crosscourt jumpsmash.

In the first doubles that followed, China's Liu Yong and Zhang Wei were no match for the Olympic champions Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky. The Indonesian pair trounced Liu and Zhang 15-6 and 15-2 with Mainaky even putting on a display of his defending prowess, wowing the audience with 2 consecutive behind-the-back smash blocks.

In the second singles, China's Luo Yigang was tipped to beat Hendrawan. But the Indonesian surprised Luo with his jumpsmashing and his very deceptive shots at the net. Hendrawan often wrongfooted Luo and then punished Luo's late reply with kills or tapshots.

Hendrawan beat Luo in an unexpectedly one-sided match 15-9 and 15-4. With world doubles champions Candra Wijaya and Budiarto Sigit waiting to take on China's number two pair, Hendrawan's victory almost guaranteed Indonesia a place in the finals and the large Indonesian section of the audience knew it and began to celebrate.

Wijaya and Sigit did not disappoint the Indonesian fans. They creamed Yang Ming and Yu Jinhao 15-3 and 15-6 to officially clinch the finals berth for Indonesia.

In the last match, China's Dong Jiong beat Indra Wijaya 15-10 and 17-15 to put the score in the China-Indonesia tie at 3 matches to 2 in favour of the Indonesians.