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June 12, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Fung Permadi of Taiwan, seeded third at the 1998 U.S. Open badminton championships being held in the southern California city of Orange this week, upended top-seed Ardy Wiranata of the U.S.A. 10-15, 15-8 and 15-7 in one of today's men's singles semifinals.

Permadi and Wiranata are both former members of the powerful Indonesian national team. Permadi, whose best achievement was the 1996 World Grand Prix Finals championships, now lives in Taiwan and and plays for the Chinese-Taipei badminton association. Wiranata, the Olympic men's singles silver medalist in 1992, now is a coach with the U.S.A. national team in Colorado and is competing as a U.S.A. Badminton association entry.

Men's singles second seed Kevin Han of the United States was also an upset victim in today's semifinals. Han was beaten by Scotland's Bruce Flockhart 10-15 and 7-15.

In the women's singles semifinals, Ye Ping Tang of the U.S.A. defeated teammate Cindy Shi 11-7, 7-11 and 11-8. Second-seed Jo Muggeridge of England was the beneficiary of an injury to Canada's Kara Solmundsson. Muggeridge had been soundly thrashed in the first game 2-11 and was match point down at 7-10 when Solmundsson became physically unable to continue.

Men's doubles second seeds Iain Sydie and Darryl Yung of Canada defeated the Chinese pairing of Kenny Chen and Alex Liang 18-16 and 15-5 to gain a place in tomorrow evening's final. Sydie and Yung will face Horng Shin-Jeng and Lee Wei-Jen from Taipei. Horng and Lee had upset top-seeds Kenny Middlemiss and Russell Hogg from Scotland in yesterday's quarterfinals and beat Canadians Mike Beres and Bryan Moody 12-15, 15-6 and 15-8 today.

In women's doubles, the makeshift Scottish pair of Elinor Middlemiss and Kirsteen McEwan made it through to the finals, beating Jo Muggeridge and Felicity Gallup of England 15-7, 5-15 and 15-11 today. Middlemiss usually plays with Sandra Watt and the two were given the top-seed. However, Watt was scratched before the first round and McEwan was pencilled in to play with Middlemiss.

The Scots will battle Canadian champions Robbyn Hermitage and Milaine Cloutier in tomorrow's final. Hermitage and Cloutier upended second-seeds Rhona Robertson and Tammy Jenkins of New Zealand 15-12, 10-15 and 18-16.

The U.S.A's mixed doubles champions Andy Chong (Weng Kai) and Ye Ping Tang, who had gotten past top-seeds Iain Sydie and Denyse Julien of Canada in the first round, booked a spot in the finals by beating Ruud Kuijten of the Netherlands and Manon Albinus of Belgium today 15-12 and 15-6.

Chong, a former Malaysian national team player, and Ye, a former Chinese provincial team player, will face the second-seeded husband-and-wife team of Kenny and Elinor Middlemiss of Scotland. The Middlemisses beat Canada's Mike Beres and Kara Solmundsson 15-11 and 15-3 today.

Except for Permadi and Wiranata, most of the names in the list of finalists and semifinalists are less widely known to followers of the international badminton tournament circuit. Most of the top players have not entered this edition of the U.S. Open which this year only offers total prize money of a meager 35,000 US dollars, a steep dropoff from last year's 200,000 US dollar purse. According to a source close to the organizers of the U.S. Open, the downturn in the Asian economy forced Hon Ta Shan, an Asian-based business who was the previous sponsor, to withdraw their support.