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June 13, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - 1996 World Grand Prix Finals champions Fung Permadi (Chen Feng) of Taiwan today captured the men's singles title at the one-star U.S. Open badminton championships in the southern California city of Orange. The victory ends an 18-month long absence from the victory stand for the former Indonesian national team player who now plays for the Chinese Taipei badminton association.

The U.S.A.'s Yeping Tang also ended a three-decade long absence of American women from the top rung of an international Open badminton tournament by winning the women's singles crown this afternoon. Tang beat England's Jo Muggeridge in three games 7-11, 11-4 and 11-3 in the first of five finals played today.

Tang was in trouble in the first game as the highly experienced English player overpowered and outplayed her. Muggeridge scored the first three points before Tang broke the ice. Muggeridge though stayed ahead, reaching game point at 10-4.

Tang fought off three game points and battled back to close in at 7-10. The English player though was able to stop Tang's run with an excellent crosscourt halfsmash and then induced Tang into a net error to take the first game.

In the second game, Muggeridge was not the same player. She had gotten quite winded and Tang shot ahead 5-0 before she was able to post a score. Tang won the set 11-4, her last point coming when an exhausted Muggeridge could not reach a low serve that Tang had directed to the sideline.

The five-minute break did not do Muggeridge much good. Tang zoomed to a 7-0 lead, often rallying with Muggeridge until the English player would make a mistake or become too tired to reach for a crosscourt shot. Tang took the decider 11-3.

In the second final, Permadi and Scotland's Bruce Flockhart battled for the men's singles crown. Flockhart's booming smashes got him early 3-0 and 4-1 leads. However, the smooth-playing Permadi soon got the hang of Flockhart's style and began to move him around with strokes to all four corners. Permadi also defanged the Scottish player's boomers with softly-wristed blocks to the frontcourt.

Permadi caught up to Flockhart at 4-all and then took the lead 5-4 with a rally-ending sliced drop that wrong-footed Flockhart. The Taiwan-based player did not let go of the lead after that, and won the first game 15-8 with great control of the play and excellent defending against the Scottish jumpsmash.

In the second game, Flockhart scored first but Permadi then quickly assumed control of the play, moving the Scot around the court, often using low serves, net spinners and flat shots to prevent Flockhart from unloading his booming smash. Permadi raced to a 9-1 lead, before Flockhart scored again when a series of Scottish crosscourt drops induced Permadi into a very tight lift that ended up in the net.

The two exchanged points with Permadi moving closer and closer to victory. He reached championship point at 14-5 and he then put Flockhart under extreme pressure with his four-corner tactics, forcing the Scot into a match-ending net mistake.

The Permadi-Flockhart scoreline: 15-8 and 15-5.

Scotland's Elinor Middlemiss and Kirsten McEwan and Canada's Milaine Cloutier and Robbyn Hermitage faced each other in the third final, the women's doubles championship match. The Canadians took advantage of the less-experienced McEwan and focused their attack on her to take the first game 15-7.

McEwan though settled down in the second. She got an excellent bachkanded low serve going, found her timing on her smashes and her blocks, and teamed up well with Middlemiss to beat back a suddenly erratic Canadian pair 15-5.

In the decider, the Canadians were still unsettled while the Scots were clicking. After exchanging points in the early going, the Scots raced ahead 9-2 and, despite a late run by the Canadians, were not to be stopped from gaining the U.S. Open women's doubles title. Middlemiss and McEwan took the third set and the match 15-7.

In the fourth final, the men's doubles championship, the Canadian pair of Iain Sydie and Darryl Yung and the Taiwanese tandem of Horng Shin-jeng and Lee Wei-Jen battled in an exciting matchup of heavy smashing and quick-reflexed players. The first game was closely fought with the two pairs exchanging leads several times. Late in the set, the Canadians fell behind 10-12 but Sydie's kill-kill combination after a series of Sydie and Yung smashes and then a Sydie flick serve got them on even footing. A Sydie crosscourt dropshot brought the Canadians the lead at 13-12. After a exchange of scoreless serves, the Canucks reached game point and then scored the winner when Sydie set up Yung for a killshot with a series of smashes.

The second was as closely fought as the first. This time though it was the Taiwanese pair who prevailed in the late going 15-12.

In the third, the Canadians drew first blood with a Yung kill after a series of Sydie smashes. After that first point, the Taiwanese took over as the Canadians began to tire and began to mistime their blocks. The Taiwanese began to channel their attack on one and then the other of the Canadians to force a defensive mistake with a series of smashes and drops and drives. The Canadians tried to do the same to the Taiwanese.

Despite many superb and often miraculous blocks by both teams, it was the Canadians who gave up more mistakes and it was the Taiwanese who quickly got the upper hand 4-1, then 5-2, then 11-3.

Sydie and Yung tried to mount a comeback and scored three times, twice on Taiwanese mistakes and a third time on a Sydie kill set up by Yung's smash.

Horng and Lee put a stop to the Canadian string and then scored on Lee's jumpsmash directed between Sydie and Yung. The Taiwanese scored twice more to get to championship point and then won the match 15-6 when their smash attack forced Yung into a block that sailed long.

In the last of the five finals, the mixed doubles title match, Scotland's Kenny and Elinor Middlemiss came back after dropping the first game 10-15 to beat U.S.A. champions Andy Chong (Chong Weng Kai) and Yeping Tang 15-5 and 15-8.

The victory was the second 1998 U.S. Open title for Scotland. Taiwan also took two crowns - the men's singles and the men's doubles.