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July 4, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Peter Gade-Christensen of Denmark, the top men's singles player in the world currently, and Rosobin Jeffer of Indonesia, an up-and-comer ranked outside the top 100, won their semifinal matches today at the Malaysian Open badminton championships in Penang to set up a battle of young guns in tomorrow's final.

Gade and Jeffer are both in their very early twenties. Gade though already has made his mark on the world badminton scene with several Open tournament championships under his belt and a world number one ranking. Jeffer has had to bide his time, playing on the Indonesian development squad in the shadow of his country's established world-beaters like Heryanto Arbi, Alan Budi Kusuma, Ardy Wiranata and Joko Suprianto. Jeffer's biggest achievement so far has been the 1996 Asian Badminton Confederation men's singles championship, winning the title from a weak field of second-stringers and development squad players.

As different as they are in ranking, Gade and Jeffer also won their places in tomorrow's finals in very different ways. Gade was overpowering in his 15-10 and 15-2 32-minute victory over Yong Hock Kin of Malaysia, while Jeffer had to rely on his younger legs and better fitness to outlast the Malaysian veteran Rashid Sidek, 10-15, 15-12 and 15-10 in a battle of exhausting rallies that took a shade over 80 minutes to complete.

In the Gade-Yong semifinal, the top-seeded Dane spotted Yong an early 2-point lead at 0-2 but then took full advantage of many three-quarter and half-court returns from the Malaysian. He went on the attack to score with a variety of overhead smashes and drops. Gade raced to an 11-3 lead before Yong was able to adjust his shots and hit these deep to the backline or just over the net.

With his shots now going well, Yong was more able to gain the attack on the Dane and he played his way back to close in at 8-12. Gade though may have been just coasting and getting ready for a final push, because he then stroked his way to game point at 14-8. The Malaysian battled back and got two more points before Gade scored the game winner.

In the second game, Gade was in command from the get-go while Yong seemed to have spent all of his energy in his comeback attempt in the first set. Gade attacked his way to a 9-0 lead before Yong was able to score. The Malaysian's shots though continued to be lacking in length and Gade was able to attack the short returns to finish Yong off at 15-2.

In the women's singles semifinals, Zhang Ning of China eliminated top-seed Camilla Martin of Denmark with a come-from-behind victory 8-11, 11-3 and 11-8, while Dai Yun, a Chinese player whom some observers call the female Yang Yang because her left-handed jumping smashes remind them of the style of the two-time men's singles world champion, turned back teammate Zhou Mi 12-10 and 11-9.

In the men's doubles semifinals, top-seeds Liu Yong and Yu Jinhao of China defeated Malaysians Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah in a three-game thriller, 18-17, 12-15 and 15-12, while Tony Gunawan and Halim Jabbar of Indonesia beat the Chinese rookie pairing of Yang Ming and Chen Qiqui 15-9 and 15-7.

The two top-seeded women's doubles pairs both won their semifinals. Top picks Marlene Thomsen and Rikke Olsen of Denmark beat Yang Wei and Huang Nanyan of China 15-8 and 15-10, while second-seeds Eliza Nathanael and Resiana Zelin (Suprianto) of Indonesia defeated Chinese newcomers Chen Lin and Jiang Xuelian 15-12 and 15-9.

In the mixed doubles semifinals, top-seeds Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen of Denmark turned back Koreans Ha Tae Kwon and Chung Jae Hee 15-1, 12-15 and 15-11, while Indonesians Trikus Heryanto and Minarti Timur defeated Simon Archer and Joanne Goode of England 15-17, 15-2 and 15-11.