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Singapore Open: Hidayat And Arbi Smash Into Finals

** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by YANG YANG Badminton Products and their Ontario (Canada) agents - SHAH Enterprises **

August 28, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Taufik Hidayat, Indonesia's 18-year old badminton sensation, and Heryanto Arbi, the 1995 world men's singles champion from Indonesia, smashed their way into tomorrow's men's singles final at the Konica Cup Singapore Open championships with hard-fought three-set victories in today's semifinals. Hidayat defeated top-seed Peter Gade of Denmark 14-17, 15-13 and 15-10 while Arbi beat teammate and defending champion Hendrawan 5-15, 15-11 and 15-10.

Meanwhile in men's doubles, Malaysian doubles players Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah continued their victorious ways today when they beat England's Simon Archer and Nathan Robertson 15-11 and 15-8 to claim a spot in the finals where they will face current All-England champions Chandra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan of Indonesia. Wijaya and Gunawan, seeded second, defeated Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yung Sung of Korea in their semifinal match 15-7 and 15-11.

In women's singles, second-seed Ye Zhaoying of China was extended by Japan's Yasuko Mizui before winning her semifinal in three sets 5-11, 11-2 and 11-8. Her third-seeded teammate Gong Zhichao beat Kanako Yonekura of Japan in two games 11-3 and 11-9 to turn the women's singles championship match into an all-Chinese contest.

In the mixed doubles championship match played today, world champions Kim Dong Moon and Ra Kyung Min of Korea easily handled Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen of Denmark 15-4 and 15-8 to claim the US$9,150 purse and to cement their burgeoning reputation as the best mixed doubles combination going into the Year 2000 Olympic Games. Kim won a gold medal in mixed doubles at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta while Ra won a silver medal.

In the women's doubles semifinals, top-seeds Huang Nanyan and Yang Wei from China beat Joanne Goode and Donna Kellogg of England 17-16, 13-15 and 15-11, while the Indonesian tandem of Indarti Isoliana and Carmelita defeated Chen Lin and Jiang Xuelian of China 15-11, 8-15 and 15-9.

In the Hidayat-Gade men's singles semifinal, Hidayat got off the mark early to build up a 6-2 lead over the top-seeded Dane. Gade though came back with improved defending against the Indonesian's shots. He soon overcame Hidayat's advantage to lead at 7-6, 8-6 and 9-6 before the Indonesian broke through and scored again.

The two played to a 14-all score and went into the three-point setting, badminton's version of overtime. In the tiebreak, the Dane prevailed to win the set at 17-14.

In the second game, Hidayat increased the pace of the rallies and went on the attack often with smashes. His aggressive tactics though backfired. He made many mistakes and Gade soon had a big lead 11-4. However, Hidayat kept the pressure on and his smash attacks began to find the floor on Gade's side of the net. With his smashes now working, the Indonesian tied up the game at 12-all and then went on to win at 15-13.

In the decider, Gade took command early with a 5-0 lead but Hidayat recovered and began to control the play specially at the net, setting himself up for scoring chances. Hidayat closed the gap at 7-all. He then went ahead to lead 9-8 and won the set at 15-10.

In the first set of the Arbi-Hendrawan semifinal, Hendrawan was on target early with his tight netshots and precision smashes. Arbi never recovered and Hendrawan was a quick first-game winner at 15-4.

Arbi though raised the level of his play in the second game. He began to unleash his trademark leaping smashes and raced to an 8-2 advantage. Hendrawan fought back but Arbi's lead was too large. Arbi took the second 15-11 to level the match at 1 game apiece.

Arbi and Hendrawan played a close third set in the early going. With the score at 8-all, Arbi's smashes mixed in with deceptive dropshots began to confound Hendrawan. Arbi then pulled away to win at 15-10.


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