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Grand Prix Finals: Sun Jun Overcomes Yong's Heroics

** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by YANG YANG Badminton Products and their Western USA agents BADMINTON ALLEY. **

February 27, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Defending champion Sun Jun of China prevailed over a valiant and heroic Yong Hock Kin of Malaysia this evening in one of the men's singles semifinal matches at the badminton World Grand Prix Finals being held in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei this week. Sun defeated Yong 15-12 and 17-15 in a sensational all-out battle and earned a place in the championship match to be played tomorrow.

Sun will be playing world number one Peter Gade of Denmark who qualified for the final without having to hit a single shuttle today. Gade's semifinal opponent was Ong Ewe Hock of Malaysia who is in a hospital and was unable to play because of an infected and swollen right calf. Ong was taken to hospital yesterday after playing his last match in the first round.

In the opening game of his match against Yong Hock Kin today, the fleet-footed Sun effectively employed a variety of tactics against the almost equally quick Malaysian. Sun combined his great all-court retrieving and his stinging jumpsmashes with deceptive net tumblers and pushes to overcome Yong's own dogged retrieving and defending.

In the second game, a tired Sun made many errors in the early going, while Yong scored point after point to gain a 5-0 advantage. Sun then began to pick up the pace once again and hit what looked like a rally-ending jumpsmash to to the lefthanded Yong's backhand sideline, only to have the line judge call the shot out.

The apparent bad call seemingly lit a fire in Sun Jun and he started to cut into Yong's 6-0 lead. Sun scored his first point of the second stanza when he pressured Yong into a errant crosscourt block. His second came when Yong hit a dropshot into the net. In the next exchange, both players rallied furiously until Sun unleashed a scoring jumpsmash. After a Yong kill attempt that found the net plus a Sun angled jumpsmash winner, the Chinese player found himself only one point behind at 5-6.

Yong then blasted a jumpsmash service return to put a stop to Sun's streak. Yong though was not able to score on his next turn as Sun ended an exchange with a lift to the backline. Yong once again broke Sun's serve, this time with a drive to the backline.

Sun and Yong then engaged in a tremendous rally that had Sun sending Yong all over his end of the court and that had the Malaysian flying and diving to retrieve Sun's shots. Yong's diving replies got shorter and shorter until Sun finished the rally with a killshot while the valiant Yong lay sprawled on the floor.

The next exchange was another tremendous rally. Sun again pushed Yong all over the court. Yong once again tried to defend and once again had to dive to the floor to flick back Sun's shots. Sun ended Yong's heroic stand with a jumpsmash winner. Sun had now pulled even at 6-all.

Sun pulled ahead to a 9-6 lead when Yong made two errors and lastly when he ended a net shot exchange with an exquisite controlled backhanded killshot.

Yong clawed his way back into the lead at 10-9 with a Sun error at the net, a jumpsmash winner, an overlong Sun punchclear and a wide Sun crosscourt lift attempt.

After an exchange of service turns, Yong got another point when Sun tried to finish off another great rally with a booming jumpsmash, only to send it wide. Another Sun error plus a Yong round-the-head jumpsmash and the Malaysian had a commanding four-point lead at 13-9.

Sun looked tired at this juncture and seemed to have lost a step. The match looked like it was going into a third and deciding set, specially when Sun made a mistake at the net that gave Yong a game point at 14-10.

Sun though had other ideas. He stopped Yong's first game point and then pressured Yong with his shotmaking in the next rally. Once again, the valiant Yong had to scurry and dive to send back Sun's shots. Once again, Sun ended the exchange with a jumpsmash. Sun was coming back into the game.

An off-speed jumpsmash to the sidelines brought Sun closer at 12-14. A very deceptive net shot from Sun that had Yong already at midcourt expecting a lift took Sun even closer at 13-14.

Yong took the service back when he was able to turn Sun's jumpsmash attack into a jumpsmash attack of his own followed by a finishing killshot. Yong had game point again.

The Malaysian was not able to convert his chance. In the rally that followed, he sent a clear past Sun's backline and surrendered the serve back to the Chinese ace.

Sun then sent the game into a tiebreak when he pressured Yong into a lift that flew long.

The two then engaged in another of the tremendous exchanges that marked this second game. Sun gained the attack but Yong defended well against the Sun jumpsmashes. The blocks though began to get shorter and Sun was soon at the net pounding kill after kill until he sent one into the floor. Sun was now ahead 15-14.

Yong stiffened his resistance and broke the Chinese serve. Sun broke back with a crosscourt jumpsmash. Sun then scored again with an angled drive from the net. Yong flung his body to the floor to try to return the shuttle but to no avail. Sun was now at match point 16-14.

Sun did not convert on his first match point and gave up the serve when he hit a jumpsmash wide. On Yong's serve, the two staged another furious rally that ended when Sun blocked a Yong smash wide.

On Yong's next serve, the Malaysian had the attack but sent a jumpsmash into the net to Sun's delight. Sun had match point again.

Sun stepped up to the service line, readying a backhand serve. He then flicked the shuttle up into the Malaysian's service court. Yong stepped back and leaped to smash at the shuttle. He struck the shuttle hard and sent it flying back at Sun's backhand. Sun turned to block the missile but the shuttle never got to his racket. Yong had smashed the shuttle into the net and Sun had won 17-16.

Sun is into the World Grand Prix Finals men's singles championship match for the third time in a row and is bidding to become the first player to win two consecutive World Grand Prix Finals men's singles titles.


Posted With The Permission Of The Copyright Holder.

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