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May 24, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Rising Indonesian badminton star Hendrawan this evening took his country's men's badminton team to their third straight triumph at the Thomas Cup - the world men's team championship - with his pivotal third match victory in the chammpionship tie against Malaysia. The youthful Indonesian player beat Yong Hock Kin in a three-game thriller 18-14, 10-15 and 15-5, to the delight of the drumbeating and flagwaving Indonesian supporters and to the despair of the Malaysian fans among the spectators.

Hendrawan's win in the second singles slot coupled with victories in the first and second doubles matches by the Olympic champion pair of Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky and the world champion duo of Candra Wijaya and Budiarto Sigit made certain Indonesia's ownership of the coveted Cup until the next Thomas Cup Finals in the year 2000.

Subagja and Mainaky defeated Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock 15-3 and 18-15. Wijaya and Sigit beat Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah 15-11 and 15-12.

Malaysia's Ong Ewe Hock posted the first win in the tie when he defeated Indonesia's number one 18-14 and 15-11. Indonesia then won the next three matches - the first doubles, second singles and second doubles - to claim the Cup.

Indonesian veteran Joko Suprianto lost to Roslin Hashim in the third singles 10-15, 15-11 and 2-15 to complete the scoring in the championship tie at 3 matches to 2 in favor of Indonesia.

In the first singles match, Arbi and Ong battled in the opening game with neither player gaining a large advantage. Arbi held a 2-point lead late in the set at 13-11 but Ong forced deuce with several good rallies with the tying point coming on a jumpsmash and running kill combination.

In the 5-point tiebreak, Ong inched ahead 2-0 on crosscourt jumpsmash errors from the Indonesian. Arbi broke into the scoring when he ended a short rally with a head-high crosscourt jumpsmash. After Ong had regained the serve, Arbi had him under severe attacking pressure and in all sorts of trouble. Arbi though could not capitalize, instead sending a kill attempt into the net.

Ong got to game point when Arbi hit a clear that was slightly lacking in length and the Malaysian jumpsmashed for the score. Ong served for the game and chose to open the rally with a low shot. Arbi tried too hard to reply with something other than a lift but he sent the shuttle into the net instead.

In the second set, Arbi started to make many more mistakes and Ong soon had a 7-3 lead. Arbi buckled down and the two played a series of scoreless service turns.

Arbi moved within two points at 5-7 with a scoring backhand half-drive and an Ong lift miscue. Ong then responded, scoring 6 points sandwiched around several service turns to lead at 13-5. However, two Ong jumpsmash errors at this stage gave Arbi some hope as he moved the score to 7-13.

Arbi though was pressing too hard and he gave up the serve with a difficult round-the-head smash attempt that went wide. Ong then promptly scored on a crosscourt jumpsmash to gain match point. He then served low to Arbi. The Indonesian attacked the serve. He hit a stinging drive but struck it too hard and sent the shuttle out-of-bounds.

Ong had posted the first tie point for Malaysia and, in celebration, he tossed his racket into the midst of the cheering Malaysian supporters.

His joy though was premature.

Onto the court came the Olympic champions from Indonesia, Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky to even the tie up.

Subagja and Mainaky were too quick and too good on defense and attack for Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock in the first game. They zoomed to a shocking 8-0 lead over the world number five pair. Although Cheah and Yap battled and rallied for every point in the middle and late parts of the set, the Indons had too many weapons working and they went on to win 15-3.

The second game started out slightly better for Cheah and Yap. They got to score the first point on a Mainaky error at the net. But again Subagja and Mainaky were too steady, often outlasting the Malaysians on extended rallies of smashes and blocks and drives.

The Indonesians gained a 10-3 before Cheah and Yap got going. They slowly clawed their way back as the Indons began to make more mistakes. Finally, the valiant Malaysians forced deuce at 13-all when Mainaky tried to finesse a cross-court winner but failed.

In the tiebreak, the Malaysians drew first blood on an Indonesian mistake at the net. However, they lost the serve, first on a Cheah lift that went long and then on a head-high Mainaky jumpsmash.

Subagja and Mainaky then equalized and pulled ahead 2-1. The Malaysians countered and scored on Cheah's half-court smash winner as he rotated into the attack and as Yap moved forward into the net area.

The Indons got the service back and, after Subagja lost the first serve with a broken-string smash into the net, Mainaky weighed in with an off-speed smash in between the two Malaysians.

Subagja and Mainaky were now at match point. Cheah and and Yap frantically tried to stop the Indonesians. The two pairs rallied furiously, smashing and blocking. The Malaysians gained the attack, Cheah smashing. The Indons defended well and sent a block into the side away from Cheah. Yap rotated into the attack, leaped to reach the shuttle, faked a smash and delivered a dropshot. However, he did not put enough force into the projectile and the shuttle landed in the net.

Indonesia had knotted up the championship tie 1-all.

Then came the pivotal second singles. Malaysia had to win this one because the second doubles would pit the world champions from Indonesia against their number two doubles pair.

Onto court came Yong Hock Kin for Malaysia and Hendrawan for Indonesia, both relatively new on the international circuit and both in their first Thomas Cup Finals campaign.

In the first set, both players used jumpsmashes and very tight net shots to do battle. Hendrawan and the lefthanded Yong played to a 13-all deuce, with the Indonesian emerging the winner with a 5-1 score in the tiebreak.

In the second set, Hendrawan was in fine form with his tight net shots spinning even tighter. He gained a 9-5 lead and looked as if he would soon finish the Malaysian off.

Yong though came back with tight netshots of his own setting up kills and smashes as well as errors from Hendrawan. The Malaysian tied the score at 9-all and then raced to a 12-9 lead with a very tight net shot. Hendrawan captured the serve with a tight netshot winner of his own and then scored his tenth.

Hendrawan's jumpsmash error gave the service back to Yong and the Malaysian did not waste the turn. He moved ahead to game point and promptly got a service return error from Hendrawan for the game winner.

In the decider, Yong drew first blood when a backhand swipe from Hendrawan sailed long. Yong scored his second on a good jumpsmash. But those were the only two the Malaysian would get for a while.

Hendrawan took control of the match and to an 11-2 lead before Yong could score again. The lead was too great for the valiant Yong to overcome though he did score three more times.

Hendrawan reached match point when Yong uncorked a jumpsmash error and then took the match with an anticlimactic service return error from Yong.

Indonesian was now in control of the tie, leading 2 matches to 1.

In the second doubles, world champions Candra Wijaya and Budiarto Sigit faced Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah. The world titleists took advantage of their less-experienced opponents' nervousness and took a 4-0 lead early. Choong and Lee settled down and tied the Indonesians 4-all, using a flat driving style.

The Indonesians though could also play the same style well and pulled ahead 10-4 before Choong and Lee could mount a comeback. The Malaysians came closer at 10-8 on a Sigit miscue but the Indonesians settled down and scored the game winner when Choong returned Wijaya's low serve into the net.

The second game was played almost similiarly, the Indons going ahead and the Malaysians coming back. The two pairs were knotted up at 8-all when Wijaya and Sigit pulled away to an 11-8 lead on a Malaysian error, a Sigit kill-kill combination, an errant Malaysian block under severe smashing pressure.

Choong and Lee pressed to stop the Indonesian string of points but gave up another marker when Choong wasted a scoring chance with a jumpsmash that went wide. After Sigit had hit a round-the-head poach into the net to take away their own first serve, the error-prone Lee put the Indonesians at Thomas Cup point with a killshot into the net.

With the backs to the wall at 8-14, the Malaysians played even more furiously than before trying to stay alive in the quest to hold the Thomas Cup. They put a stop to Sigit's service turn with a series of leaping smashes sprinkled with jumpdrops, the last of which a diving Sigit blocked wide.

Choong and Lee mounted a comeback. They got one point closer when Wijaya hit a drive wide of the court. Another great rally ensued. It turned into a drive exchange which Choong won when he hit one crosscourt into an open space.

The Malaysians inched closer to 11-14 when Wijaya ended a short rally with a wide driving shot and then to 12-14 when Sigit sent a drive into the net.

In the next rally, the Malaysians tried to keep their comeback going and the Indonesians tried to end the run. Wijaya and Sigit gained the attack and pressured Choong into a half-and-half block, one that Sigit was able to pound into the floor with a jumping net kill. The Malaysians had lost their chance.

Wijaya then served for the Thomas Cup. After a very brief exchange, Choong made the final error. He struck the shuttle into the net to hand the match and the Cup to the Indonesians.

Indonesia had clinched their third consecutive world men's team title. The Thomas Cup was headed back to Indonesia.