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Sudirman Cup: Denmark, China Win Openers

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

May 10, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Host Denmark and defending champion China both won their opening contests at the world mixed team championships of badminton that began today in Brondby, Denmark. The Danes defeated the Korean team 3 matches to 2, while China beat Malaysia 4 matches to 1.

The Danes banked on their singles aces, Peter Gade and Camilla Martin, for two of their match wins. Gade, the men's singles world number one, overwhelmed Park Tae Sang 15-0 and 15-1, while Martin, world-ranked at number three in women's singles, defeated Lee Kyung Won 11-3 and 11-6.

Kim Dong Moon and Ra Kyung Min had staked the Korean side to an early 1-0 advantage when they beat Jon Holst-Christensen and Ann Jorgensen in the mixed doubles match 15-9 and 15-7. The Koreans however knew that they would be behind in the count after the two singles events and counted heavily on taking the women's and men's doubles, specially with top Danish player Marlene Thomsen still on the mend from a back injury.

Denmark though did not field Thomsen and regular partner Rikke Olsen for the women's doubles match. Instead the Danish brain trust named a tried and tested former combination - Rikke Olsen and Helene Kirkegaard, a pair that was in contention for world honors before they found other partners two years ago. Olsen and Kirkegaard did not disappoint. The pair battled past Koreans Ra Kyung Min and Chung Jae Hee in a tightly contested first game 15-13 and then gained command of the match early in the second to win 15-10.

The Olsen and Kirkegaard victory clinched the contest for Denmark and made a semifinal berth for Denmark an almost certainty.

In the academic men's doubles match, Jesper Larsen and Jens Eriksen were beaten by Ha Tae Kwon and Kim Dong Moon 3-15 and 6-15.

Sun Jun, Gong Zhichao, Zhang Jun and Ge Fei, and the pair of Huang Nanyan and Yang Wei took China to victory over Malaysia with match wins in the men's singles, women's singles, mixed doubles and women's doubles.

Malaysia knew they had little chance of beating the defending champions and did not even bother to field a top player against men's singles world number two Sun Jun. Instead they named doubles specialist Chew Choon Eng who went down to quick defeat 7-15 and 4-15.

Zhang, subbing for mixed doubles world champion Liu Yong, combined with Ge, Liu's world championships partner, to demolish Chan Chong Ming and Ang Li Peng in the first match 15-2 and 15-5. Gong then swamped Woon Sze Mei 11-1 and 11-1. Sun followed with his win over Chew to clinch the contest for China.

Women's doubles number ones Huang Nanyan and Yang Wei took the fourth match. They beat Lim Pek Siah and Joanne Quay 15-8 and 15-3.

Malaysia's singular win came in the last match - the men's doubles - with Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah beating Zhang Jun and Zhang Wei 15-9 and 15-8.

China and Denmark are seeded to clash for the Sudirman Cup in the tournament finals slated for Saturday. Indonesia, the other favored team, sees action tomorrow against Malaysia. Meanwhile, the Koreans will try to gain a leg up on a semifinal berth when they play Sweden also tomorrow night.

In other action, Team USA's hopes of moving up to Group 3 were quicky deflated this afternoon when they fell to Switzerland 2 matches to 3 in their opening Group 3A contest. The Americans took the men's and women's singles matches but their doubles combinations failed to overcome the Swiss pairings.

Canada also lost their opener. Playing in Group 3, the Canadians were beaten by Finland 2 matches to 3.


Posted With The Permission Of The Copyright Holder.

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