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World Championships: Sun Conquers Olympic Champion

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

May 22, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Sun Jun of China, currently the second-ranked badminton men's singles player in the world, this afternoon moved forward to a showdown for the title of the world's best when he trounced 1996 Olympic gold medal winner Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen of Denmark in one of the early semifinal matches at the world individual championships being held in the Brondby suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark. The Chinese player who has a deserved reputation of being the quickest of men's singles players had very few problems with the Olympic champion and beat him 15-4 and 15-6 with a combination of defensive quickness, powerful jumpsmashes and deceptive netshots.

In the first game, Sun burst out to a 5-0 advantage mainly on mistakes by the Danish player. Hoyer finally broke thru at 1-5 when his smash to Sun's backhand side found the line. Sun Jun though was too good both defensively with his smash blocks and dropshot digouts as well as offensively with high leaping smashes, well-disguised dropshots and netspinners. He stormed to an even larger lead and soon was only two points away from the set 13-4.

After Sun and Hoyer traded scoreless service turns, Sun Jun scored on a round-the-head crosscourt smash to reach game point at 14-4. In the next rally, Sun put the pressure on Hoyer with drops and clears until Hoyer finally made a mistake and sent the shuttle flying out of Sun's backcourt.

Early in the second game, Hoyer turned up his attack and began to smash at every opportunity. The agressiveness paid off for a while and he took a 3-0 lead as he caught Sun several times with off-tempo snap smashes to the backhand side.

A deceptive backhanded netshot got Sun Jun his first point. The Dane though was still agressive and scored twice more to lead at 5-2. Back came Sun Jun. He began to anticipate and defend Hoyer's attacking shots. His defending as well as his drops and smashes forced Hoyer into mistakes that soon put the Chinese player ahead 6-5 and then 11-5 and 12-6.

A Sun Jun netshot that tickled the top of the net and landed on the Dane's side of the court put the Chinese player ahead even more at 13-6. He then pressured Hoyer into lifting the shuttle long to reach match point.

In the final rally, Hoyer had Sun in a bit of a scramble. Sun had been slow to read a Hoyer shot to the rearcourt but he reached up anyway to return the shuttle. Slightly off-balance, struck a dropshot that seemed to tumble its way above the net and down to the floor close to the line. For a split of a split second, Sun and Hoyer and the audience were silent until the line judge's went forward to signal "in". Sun then jumped with joy and punched the air with delight. He was back in the finals of the world championship for the second time in a row.

In one of the women's singles semifinals, Camilla Martin of Denmark came back from a first game setback to defeat China's Gong Ruina 6-11, 11-9 and 11-3.

Gong's all-court movement, her deft netspinners, and attacking shots carried her to a seemingly easy first game win over a mistake-prone Dane. Gong continued to control most of the rallies early in the second and had an 8-4 lead when Martin's play began to click. She pressured Gong into a dropshot mistake, then scored again on a net shot after she had set up Gong with a series of tiring dropshot retrieves.

Martin added one more when Gong hit a sliced dropshot into the neat and equalized at 8-all with a head-high smash at Gong. The Dane then captured the lead at 9-8 and went on to win the second set at 11-9 when Gong's tired round-the-head slice drop tipped the top of the net and bounced out-of-play.

In the decider, Gong took a 2-0 lead on early mistakes by the Dane, but her advantage was short-lived. Martin soon equalized on a Gong shot that went wide and then on a lift that Gong misjudged and that landed in.

Martin pulled away over a visibly tired Gong and soon was at match point 10-3 when Gong ended a rally with an overlong clear. In the ensuing exchange, the tired Gong struck a dropshot that flew wide of the court to hand Martin a spot in tomorrow's championship match.

In one of the women's doubles semifinals, Ra Kyung Min and Chung Jae Hee of Korea survived the powershots of Denmark's Majken Vange and the finesse of Ann Jorgensen and came out on top 15-10, 7-15 and 15-8.

In the other women's doubles semifinal, defending world champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun of China defeated their teammates Gao Ling and Qin Yiyuan 15-6 and 15-7.


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