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World Championships: American's Tiebreak Gamble Pays Off

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

May 19, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - At the world individual championships of badminton now in its second day of main draw competition in Danish town of Brondby near Copenhagen, Ardy Wiranata, the player-coach of Team USA, went for all the marbles in the third and deciding game of his men's singles second-round match with 1996 Olympic silver medalist Dong Jiong of China by boldly choosing to play a one-point tiebreak with the set all tied up at 14-all, instead of the more usual and conservative three-point setting. Wiranata's dramatic move paid off for the Indonesian-born player when he foiled Dong at match point and then scored on his service turn to win the match.

Wiranata, who won a world championships silver medal in 1989 and an Olympic silver medal in 1992 while competing for his native Indonesia, looked like a certain loser in the first set when Dong easily put him away 15-5. But the 29-year old Indonesian-American patiently rallied his way back into the match in the second set. As the Chinese player whose endurance has been suspect began to tire, Wiranata pulled away to win the second game 15-11.

In the decider, it was Wiranata who was able to control the play late and gain match point at 14-11. Dong stopped the Indonesian-American and then came back with three scores to force the tiebreak.

When prompted by the umpire whether he wanted to set the game, Wiranata who had a choice of one or three points because he was the first to reach game point surprised everyone in the arena when he held one finger up, indicating that he wanted a one-point tiebreak.

Dong then served for the match. In the rally that followed, the experienced Wiranata changed from striking dropshots to hitting a fast and flat lob or attacking clear to Dong's backhand side. Dong who had moved his playing base slightly forward was a half step too late in returning the shuttle and his reply fell into the net.

It was now Wiranata's turn to serve for the match and the Indonesian-American made the most of his chance. He struck a very deceptive shot at the net that fooled Dong and won him the game and the match at 15-14.

Wiranata commented after the match that he had to go for a one-point tiebreak because he was too tired to play three more points.

Wiranata's victory capped a good second day for North American players, specially after a disappointing first day when they lost all their matches, except for Wiranata's three-set win over Austria's Jurgen Koch.

Other North American winners today were Wiranata and Mark Manha, Mike Edstrom and Chris Hales, Iain Sydie and Brent Olynyk of Canada in men's doubles first round action, as well as Canada's Denyse Julien and Charmaine Reid in women's doubles first round play.

Wiranata and Manha beat Leandro Santos and Antonio Gargiulo of Brazil 15-2, 13-15 and 15-7. Edstrom and Hales defeated Stephan Beeharry and Denis Constantin of Mauritius 4-15, 15-8 and 15-5. Sydie and Olynyk put out Kenny Middlemiss and Russell Hogg of Scotland 17-14 and 15-9. Julien and Reid beat Archana Deodhar and Manjusha Kanwar of India 15-5 and 15-9.

Lily Chen and Yeping Tang of the USA lost to Lim Pek Siah and Joanne Quay of Malaysia 5-15 and 5-15.

Tomorrow though may not be such a good day for the American and the Canadian players. Wiranata, the Team USA player-coach, is matched up against former teammate Sugianto Hendrawan, Indonesia's current number one at men's singles. In men's doubles, Wiranata and Manha will face Chan Chong Ming and Jeremy Gan of Malaysia, Edstrom and Hales will go up against Cheng Rui and Wang Wei of China, and the Canadian pair of Sydie and Olynyk will trade shots with the second seeded Indonesians Fandy Limpele and Eng Hian.

In women's doubles, Julien and Reid will play Joanne Davies and Sarah Hardaker of England.


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