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

Sudirman Cup: China Three-peats As The World's Best

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

May 15, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - China today successfully defended its ownership of the Sudirman Cup symbolic of the world mixed team badminton championship by defeating challenger Denmark in the tournament final at Brondby Hallen near Copenhagen, Denmark. The Chinese won three matches - the women's singles, the men's singles and the men's doubles - in the five-match contest, while the host Danes took the opening mixed doubles match. The last scheduled match - the women's doubles - was not played because China had already won the championship after the fourth rubber.

This Sudirman Cup triumph is China's third in a row. China's first came in 1995 at Lausanne, Switzerland when they beat Indonesia in the final, 3 matches to 1. The second came in 1997 at Glasgow, Scotland when they swept Korea in the championship contest.

This afternoon's contest did not start out well for China. To the delight and cheers of the Danish fans, mixed doubles defending world champions Liu Yong and Ge Fei were upended by Jon Holst-Christensen and Ann Jorgensen 10-15 and 8-15 in the opener.

With Holst supplying the power from the rearcourt and Jorgensen patrolling the net area and outplaying Ge, the Danes were in command of the first game from the onset. The Chinese had the opening serve, but failed to convert. After that, the Danes scored 4 times before Liu and Ge were able to get on the scoreboard.

Holst and Jorgensen increased their advantage to 8-1 and then 11-2. Liu and Ge mounted a comeback and closed in at 13-10, but with spirited play and some Chinese mistakes, the Danes pull out a first set win at 15-10.

In the second, the Danes again raced out in front 7-0 before the Chinese were able to score on a powershot to Jorgensen. Liu and Ge then reeled off 4 points to bring the score to 7-4 in favor of the Danes.

Holst and Jorgensen pulled away again to 10-4, 11-7 and then 14-7 leads. The Danes were not able to convert on their first match point and lost the serve. On their service turn, the Chinese pair was able to tally a point, bringing the score to 14-8, but a Chinese shot that went out of bounds ended their service turn and gave the Danes two more chances to close out the match.

The Danes again failed to convert on their second match point but were not to be denied on their third. They won the set 15-8 and Denmark was ahead in the team contest 1-0.

Camilla Martin of Denmark almost made it 2-0 for Denmark and almost put China into a deep hole. Martin, the world women's singles number three, had split the first two games of the second match with Dai Yun 11-5 and 9-11. In the deciding third set, she had a huge 9-2 advantage over Dai but the Chinese lefthander came back with clear-and-drop combinations as well as some sharp smashes.

Martin began to slow down and looked tired as Dai closed in at 8-9. However, she also began to look and play tired. The Dane then scored to reach match point at 10-8. On Martin's serve, Dai got the Dane into a long rally and induced Martin to make a dropshot mistake to the net.

Martin got a second match point chance when Dai struck her serve long. But, in the next rally, Dai once again got Martin to make a mistake at the net on a netshot exchange. Dai then scored twice to send the game into a three-point setting at 10-all.

The Chinese lefthander reached her first matchpoint at 12-10 as she began to effectively combine sliced drops, fast flat clears and spinning netshots. The Dane saved that first matchpoint but could not score on her service turn.

Martin turned back Dai at match point a second time and then scored to close in at 11-12. A great smash by Dai though ended Martin's turn. On the Chinese player's third match point, Martin stopped her again, but she once more ended her own service turn with a net mistake.

On her fourth match point and about one hour and a half after the match had begun, Dai finally broke through to win at 13-11. China and Denmark were now tied in the team contest at 1 match apiece.

World men's singles number one Peter Gade of Denmark and number two Sun Jun of China then clashed in the third match. Gade had the upperhand early in the first game 12-5, often winning rallies with fast drives and smashes. The Chinese player though came back with his determined all-court retrieving, good defending and some power smashing of his own. Sun Jun closed in at 12-10.

The Dane inched away at 13-10 but two rally-ending smashes by Sun Jun brought the score closer at 13-12, Gade still ahead. After a scoreless exchange of service turns, Sun Jun managed to score and tied up the game at 13-all. Gade stopped Sun's service turn but lost his own turn on a very close line call.

Sun then tallied to reach game point 14-13 and won the game 15-13 after an exchange of service turns.

In the second game, Sun took the lead early at 4-0 but Gade fought back to tie at 6-all. Sun Jun pulled away once again to lead at 12-6. But the Dane again came back to tie at 12-all and then took a small 13-12 lead. In the end, though, the Chinese player outsteadied Gade specially in the long rallies and he won the set 15-13.

China was now ahead in the team contest 2 matches to 1.

The fourth match was the men's doubles, featuring China's semifinal heroes Zhang Jun and Yu Jinhao against Jens Eriksen and Jesper Larsen. The two pairs battled closely early in the first game but towards the end, Zhang and Yu took a four point lead at 13-9 and won the set 15-12.

In the second game, Eriksen and Larsen took a 6-3 lead with good play and several powerful smashes. The Chinese fought back to tie at 7-7, but the Danes once more inched ahead and held an 11-9 advantage going into the closing rallies of the game.

Zhang and Yu though reeled the Danes in and took the lead at 12-11. The Chinese did not give up the lead after that and reached championship point at 14-13. Zhang and Yu then cashed in on their first chance at victory. They scored to end Denmark's hopes 15-13 and China had won the Sudirman Cup - the world mixed team championship of badminton - for a record third time in a row.

(The by now meaningless fifth match - the women's doubles featuring China's Ge Fei and Gu Jun versus Denmark's Rikke Olsen and Helene Kirkegaard - was not played by agreement between the two teams and the tournament referee).


Posted With The Permission Of The Copyright Holder.