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December 11, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - The Chinese men's and women's teams in badminton both played their way yesterday to the championship contests at the 1998 Asian Games now underway in Bangkok, Thailand. The men led by world number 2 Sun Jun beat South Korea 3 matches to 2, while the women whitewashed Japan 5-0 in semifinal action at the Thamassat University Sports Complex just outside the Thai capital.

Sun Jun and company will clash with Indonesia for the men's team gold medal later today. Indonesia defeated Malaysia 4-1 in yesterday's semifinal. The Chinese women spearheaded by world champions Ye Zhaoying and the pair of Ge Fei and Gu Jun will take on South Korea who upended Mia Audina and the Indon women's team 4-1.

In the Korea-Indonesia semifinal tussle, Kim Ji Hyun provided South Korea with the key victory when she beat an erratic Mia Audina in the opening singles 11-6 and 11-5. Both women had problems keeping their shots inbounds as the shuttles seemed to be playing fast yesterday. Kim was able to adjust to the speed of the shuttle, while Audina could not fine-tune her power strokes and often hit her shots past the lines.

Audina's unexpected defeat demoralized the Indonesian side with Deyana Lomban and Indarti Isolina falling to Yim Kyung Jin and Chung Jae Hee 14-17, 15-1 and 7-15 in the first doubles, Eliza Nathanael and Minarti Timur losing to Ra Kyung Min and Kim Shin Young 15-2 and 15-12 in the second doubles, and Cindana Hartono dropping the third singles to Lee Kyung Won 8-11, 11-8 and 5-11.

Meiluawati posted the only win for the Indonesian women's side. She beat Lee Joo Hyun in the second singles 11-8 and 11-1.

The Chinese women only surrendered one game against Japan in their semifinal. World champion Ye Zhaoying opened up for the Chinese with an 11-3 and 11-6 win over Yasuko Mizui. World doubles champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun then beat Yoshiko Iwata and Haruko Matsuda 15-4 and 15-5. Gong Zhichao clinched for the Chinese women with a victory in the second singles.

Qin Yiyuan and Tang Hetian dropped one game to the Japanese women in the second doubles but went on to win in three games.

In the China-Korea men's team semifinal, Sun Jun gave his side the first point by beating Hwang Sun Ho 15-6 and 15-10. Zhang Wei and Zhang Jun then surprised by upending All-England doubles champions Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yung Sung in three 15-6, 11-15 and 15-13.

The unexpected win by Zhang and Zhang put China firmly in the driver's seat and Luo Yigang then scored the clincher when he defeated Ahn Jae Chang 15-11 and 15-9 in the second singles.

The Koreans took the meaningless second doubles and third singles matches. Ha Tae Kwon and Kang Kyung Jin beat Liu Yong and Yu Jinhao 2 games to 1, and Park Sung Woo beat Dong Jiong in two sets.

In the Malaysia-Indonesia men's team semifinal, the Malaysian singles players could not deliver the goods. Malaysia had gone into the competition with weaker than usual doubles combinations and had counted heavily on their singles aces to squeak past the top teams.

However, Yong Hock Kin and Wong Choon Hann did not come through yesterday. In the opening singles, Yong was easily beaten in straight sets by Hendrawan 4-15 and 7-15, while Wong was defeated by Hong Kong Open champion Budi Santoso 9-15 and 9-15 in the last match.

As expected, Malaysia's young doubles pairs went down to defeat at the hands of the more experienced Indonesians. Pang Cheh Chang and Cheah Soon Thoe lost to Olympic champions Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky 5-15 and 5-15 and the 1996 world junior champions Chang Chong Ming and Jeremy Gan were beaten by the 1997 world champion Chandra Wijaya and 1998 All-England finalist Tony Gunawan 9-15 and 9-15.

Roslin Hashim notched the only point for Malaysia. He beat the youthful Taufik Hidayat 15-10 and 17-14.



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