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November 28, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Hong Kong's Ling Wan Ting made history for the host side yesterday when she beat Judith Meulendijks of Netherland in the women's singles quarterfinals of the five-star Hong Kong Open badminton championships. With her win, Ling became the first player from Hong Kong to gain the semifinals of a top-rated international badminton tournament.

Ling who got drubbed by Taiwan's Huang Chia-Chi 0-11 in the first game of her round-of-16 match on Thursday before coming back to win 11-2 and 11-4 made certain that she would not have such a terrible start in the quarterfinals. She spent more than a half-hour on a practice court before the match warming up and getting focused. Her preparation paid off as she bundled the Dutch player off quite easily 11-4 and 11-7.

Ling's next challenge will be much more difficult. She goes up against top seed Camilla Martin of Denmark in the semifinals. Martin disposed of China's Zhou Mi 8-11, 11-8 and 11-3.

Taiwan's Chan Ya-Ling, who herself made history by becoming the first Taiwan woman player to gain the semifinals of a top-rank badminton tournament, meets Indonesia's Lidya Djaelawidjaya in the other final four matchup. Chan put out Karolina Ericcson of Sweden 11-8, 11-13 and 11-4 in the quarterfinals, while Djaelawidjaya beat third-seed Mette Pedersen of Denmark 7-11, 11-8 and 11-3.

In men's singles, top seed Peter Gade of Denmark battled back to overcome Ismail Saman of Malaysia in a three-set 45-minute affair. Saman went all out at the start of the match and surprised the world number one by taking the first game 15-10. The effort though sapped the Malaysian and Gade took the next two 15-6 and 15-3.

Fourth seed Chen Gang of China also had to battle in order to gain a spot in the final four. He and Malaysia's Roslin Hashim struggled for 75 minutes before Chen prevailed 9-15, 15-3 and 15-7.

Rashid Sidek of Malaysia beat Johan Hadi Kusuma of Indonesia 15-11 and 15-6, while Budi Santoso of Indonesia defeated teammate Rony Agustinus 15-11 and 15-10 in the other quarterfinal matches.

Gade plays Chen and Sidek faces Santoso in today's semifinals.

In men's doubles, top-seed Flandy Limpele and Hian Eng of Indonesia, Chandra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan, also of Indonesia, Jens Eriksen and Jesper Larsen of Denmark, and the pair of Peter Axelsson and Par-Gunnar Jonsson of Sweden booked places in the semifinals.

Axelsson and Jonsson put out Indonesians Kantono and Antonius 10-15, 15-9 and 15-8 in one of yesterday's quarterfinal matches.



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