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Sudirman Cup: Zhang Jun and Yu Jinhao Shock Koreans

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

May 14, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - China's underrated men's doubles players today provided the biggest shock at the world mixed team championships of badminton or Sudirman Cup competition being played in Brondby just outside of Copenhagen, Denmark. In the semifinal contest between defending champion China and South Korea early this afternoon, Zhang Jun and Yu Jinhao stunned 1998 All-England champions Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yung Sung in the men's doubles match to clinch a spot in tomorrow's final for China.

The victory was stunning not only because it was highly unexpected but because Zhang and Yu totally overwhelmed Lee and Yoo with their quickness and power. The Chinese pair dominated the play in the first game from the third point on when they snuffed out one Korean chance after another while themselves scoring 12 times to win the set.

In the second, Zhang and Yu grabbed an early 6-3 advantage and fought off a short-lived Korean comeback that took the score to 6-5. They then rattled off point after point to take the game 15-5.

The shock loss threw cold water on Korea's earlier celebration when their women's singles ace Kim Ji Hyun upended the favored Gong Zhichao in the third match 11-9, 1-11 and 11-3. Kim's victory had put the Koreans only a point behind the Chinese in the team contest at 1 match to 2 with the Korean strength - the men's and women's doubles - slated for the fourth and fifth matches.

Zhang and Yu's contest-clinching win dashed the Korean hopes for a semifinal upset.

Earlier in the afternoon, defending world mixed doubles champions Liu Yong and Ge Fei of China outsteadied the current world number ones Kim Dong Moon and Ra Kyung Min 10-15, 15-10 and 15-13 to put China 1 up on the Koreans.

In the men's singles match that followed, Sun Jun recovered from a nervously and tentatively played first game to beat Ahn Jae Chang 9-15, 15-6 and 15-7.

After Zhang and Yu had scored the third victory for China, there was a bit of delay and controversy as Chinese head coach Li Yong Bo decided to substitute Zhang Ning for Ge Fei in the closing women's singles match (Editor's Note - Substitutions are not normally permitted in badminton team contests after the team lineup has been submitted to the tournament referee several hours before the contest starts. The referee may allow the substitution if the player being replaced has been injured or has taken ill before the player's match begins).

Coach Li claimed that Ge had hurt her right hip during the mixed doubles contest and convinced the tournament referee to allow the substitution after a team doctor had vouched for Ge's injury.

The Koreans protested but were not able to get the referee to change his decision.

After the substitution had been sorted out, Zhang Ning and Gu Jun took to the court to play the dead rubber against Ra Kyung Min and Chung Jae Hee. The Chinese pair took the first set 15-8 but then dropped the second and third 12-15 and 11-15. Zhang and Gu's loss ended the team contest at 3 matches to 2 in favor of China.

In another early contest, Team USA were whitewashed by Poland in their fourth division fifth place playoff match to Poland. The Americans ended their 1999 Sudirman Cup campaign in 28th place overall.


Posted With The Permission Of The Copyright Holder.