** HELP!!! Keep NEW SHUTTLENWS going - BUY our sponsor's products. **

Sudirman Cup: China Squeezes Past Indonesia

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

May 12, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - China squeezed past a tough Indonesian side, 4 matches to 1, this evening at the world mixed team championships of badminton being played in Brondby, Denmark, just outside Copenhagen. The narrow victory put the Chinese, the defending champions, on top of their round-robin pool and into an easier semifinal contest on Friday night with Korea, the runners-up from the other group in the championship division.

The Chinese triumph was led by their superstrong women players. Ge Fei and Gu Jun, the defending women's doubles world champions, staked their team to a 1 match lead early with a 15-13 and 15-2 victory over Etty Tantri and Cynthia Tuwankotta. Dai Yun then padded the Chinese advantage when she easily beat Ellen Angelinawati 11-6 and 11-3.

In the men's doubles match that followed, Zhang Jun and Yu Jinhao were soundly thrashed by Chandra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan in the first set 4-15 but surprised the Indonesian pair by coming back strongly in the second game and winning 15-10.

In the deciding third game, Wijaya and Gunawan quickly grabbed a 3-0 lead. They maintained that advantage to the end, despite a spirited Chinese effort and won the set 15-8.

In the men's singles match that followed, Dong Jiong started out well for China against the 18-year old phenom Taufik Hidayat. Dong rattled off 5 points to lead 5-1 but the quicker and surprisingly strong-smashing Hidayat played his way back into the match. The Indonesian tied the score at 8-all and 9-all and then went on to take the game 15-11 as Dong wilted.

In the second, Hidayat completely dominated the Chinese player and beat him 15-4. The victory put the team contest into a 2-all tie, going into the final match - the mixed doubles pitting China's Liu Yong and Ge Fei, the defending world champions, against Bambang Suprianto and Rosiana Zelin.

The match was only close in the opening rallies of the first set. With the score at 3-all in game one, Liu and Ge took control of play and won the match 15-4 and 15-4.

In the other featured team contest, host Denmark whitewashed Sweden 5 matches to none. Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen beat Peter Axelsson and Catrine Bengtsson in the opening mixed doubles 15-6 and 15-9. In the men's singles, world number one Peter Gade spotted Thomas Johansson two early points as he found his bearings and then went on to thrash the Swede 15-3 and 15-5.

Camilla Martin then demolished Margit Borg in the women's singles 11-2 and 11-1. Jens Eriksen and Jesper Larsen followed with a 15-11 and 15-8 men's doubles victory over Par-Gunnar Jonsson and Peter Axelsson.

In the closing match, Marlene Thomsen and Rikke Olsen defeated Marina Andrievskaia and Catrine Bengtsson 15-5 and 15-8.

Denmark's win confirmed their placing as the winner of their championship division pool and put them into a semifinal matchup with Indonesia on Friday. Sweden, on the other hand, ends up on the bottom of the pool and has to play Malaysia, the bottom-dweller in the other pool, on Friday to decide who gets send down to play in the second division in the 2001 championships.

In second division action, England beat Scotland 5-0 and Netherlands took care of Russia 4-1 in Group 2A. Japan beat Taiwan 4-1 and Germany defeated Thailand 3-2 in Group 2B.

In the third division, Canada kept its slim hopes for promotion to division 2 alive by defeating Austria this afternoon 3-2. The Canadians who had lost to Finland on Monday must beat Group 3A leader India tomorrow 5-0 to earn a place in the promotion playoff against the winner of Group 3B.

Team USA, playing in the fourth division, had their chances to take the group pennant in their contest this afternoon with Iceland. The Americans, who had suffered a disappointing 2-3 defeat at the hands of Switzerland on Monday, had to win by a score of 4-1 to end group play in a three-way tie for first with Iceland and Switzerland and to then win a place in the promotion playoff via the tie-breaking procedure.

Team USA got close. They went into the closing match - the mixed doubles pitting Chris Hales and Yeping Tang against Icelanders Svein Solvasson and Drifa Hardardottir - with the lead in the contest 3 matches to 1. The first game went to Solvasson and Hardardottir 15-10. In the second, Hales and Tang put out a determined effort but the Icelanders managed to reach match point at 14-12.

In the match-ending rally, Solvasson slipped while trying to retrieve a American placement and, according to the Icelander and his partner, touched the shuttle before it hit the floor. The umpire and the line judge did not see the touch though and awarded the point to the pair from Iceland.

In a sporting gesture, Solvasson protested that he had touched the shuttle but the umpire stood by the call and Team USA was out of the running for the promotion playoff, despite Team USA's 3-2 win over the Icelanders. Iceland was in.


Posted With The Permission Of The Copyright Holder.