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Danish Open: Hoyer Conquers World Champion

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October 16, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - 34-year old Poul-Erik Hoyer of Denmark, today showed that he was still as good a badminton men's singles player as he was when captured an Olympic gold medal in 1996. In the semifinals of the Danish Open in Vejle this afternoon, the Danish veteran displayed vintage Hoyer quickness of foot, deceptiveness of stroke and finesse of touch as he beat current world champion and top seed Sun Jun of China in three sets 15-10, 9-15 and 17-16.

The fifth-seeded Hoyer's victory puts him into the championship match against eighth pick Wong Choon Hann of Malaysia who overhauled a hot-then-cold Peter Gade, the second seed from Denmark, 15-13 and 15-4.

In the women's singles semifinals, world champion and third seed Camilla Martin of Denmark repeated her world title victory over top seed and world silver medalist Dai Yun of China in another three-setter, 4-11, 11-6 and 11-9.

Fourth seeded Zhou Mi of China took the other women's singles semifinal. She beat her teammate and the tournament number two, Gong Ruina, 1-11, 11-4 and 11-1.

In men's doubles, host Denmark was assured of the championship when the fourth-seeded Danish combination of Jim Laugesen and Michael Sogaard scored a mild semifinal upset over Indonesian aces Antonius Budi Iriantho and Denny Kantono, the second picks, 15-11 and 17-14. Earlier in the afternoon, the unseeded Danish team of Martin Lundgaard Hansen and Lars Paaske had upended their third-seeded teammates Jens Eriksen and Jesper Larsen 15-10 and 15-10.

In the women's doubles final four, top picks Helene Kirkegaard and Rikke Olsen of Denmark fell to the previously unranked but excellent Chinese combination of Chen Lin and Jiang Xuelian 8-15, 15-10 and 9-15. Chen and Jiang have won two tier-one international tournaments in the past two weeks - the Dutch Open and the German Open.

Chen and Jiang will face their second-seeded compatriots, Gao Ling and Qin Yiyuan, in the finals. Gao and Qin trounced sixth seeds Deyana Lomban and Eliza Nathanael of Indonesia in their semifinal match, 15-4 and 15-5.

1997 mixed doubles world champions (Ms.) Ge Fei and Liu Yong of China took the Danish Open title in their event. Ge and Liu defeated their teammates (Ms.) Gao Ling and Zhang Jun in the event final played today, 15-12 and 17-14.

In the men's singles semifinal between Hoyer and Sun Jun, Hoyer varied his shot selection and combinations against the speedy retriever from China. The wily left-handed veteran switched styles through most of the match, going from attack to defense, clearing rallies to net exchanges, playing soft then hard. The Olympic champion's tactics took him to a 15-10 first game triumph.

In the second, Sun Jun's speed around the court and shotmaking overcame Hoyer's play and the Chinese player captured the set 15-9 to send the match into a third and deciding session.

Hoyer controlled the early part of the decider. He led 10-6 and then 13-7, but then began to make mistakes. Sun Jun rapidly scored five points to close in at 12-13.

Hoyer was able to counter with one marker to reach match point, 14-12. Sun thoough foiled the Dane in the next rally and then scored twice on his serve to send the set into a tiebreak at 14-all.

The two exchanged points to put the score at 15-all. Then Sun scored again to gain match point at 16-15. In the next rally, the Chinese player moved Hoyer around with his shots and managed to elicit a shortish lift from the Dane.

It seemed that the match would be finished on the next stroke. In the blink of an eye, Sun leaped up for the winning smash, while Hoyer set himself in midcourt ready to block. Sun sent his smash towards Hoyer's forehand sideline and away from the waiting Dane. Alas for the world champion, he struck the shuttle a tad too strong and sent the missile an inch or two wide of the line.

Hoyer then scored on his serve to stand at another match point, 16-all. In the next series of exchanges, the two combatants moved each other around with their shots until Hoyer finally maneuvered Sun into the net where the Danish master of netplay spun the shuttle ever so tightly for a winner.

Hoyer was so enthused by his close triumph that he fell to his knees in glee and then ran on his knees towards the stands with his arms punching the air in delight.

Hoyer's body though paid a price for the three-set victory. He began to feel some cramping in his legs after the match and was soon on his way to the physiotherapist for treatment.

In the other men's singles semifinal, second seed Peter Gade played well at the start and raced to a 10-2 advantage. Wong made up some ground but Gade still held the lead late in the set 13-7.

The Dane's play then went sour. He no longer was hitting his shots as crisply and as precisely as before. He also began to lose some length on his clears. This drop in play allowed Wong back into the game and he scored 8 times to take the set 15-13.

In the second, Gade again took the early lead 4-2 but he still was not playing well. Once again, Wong scored point after point to take the set 15-4.

In the women's singles semifinal between Martin and Dai, the Chinese player dominated the opening game 11-4. The world champion battled back in the second to equalize the match with an 11-6 win.

In the decider, Martin raced ahead to a comfortable 6-0 and then 7-1 lead. Mistakes then began to creep into the world champion's play and the Chinese player made her way back into the thick of the fight.

Dai soon caught up to Martin and then went ahead 8-7 and 9-7 before the world champion cut down on her mistakes. Martin battled back to tie the score at 9-all and then reached match point at 10-9.

In the final rally, Dai had the world champion under pressure as she tried to fight off match point. The left-handed Dai hit a fast drop to Martin's backhand. The world champion stretched to send it back just over the net. Dai lunged for the shuttle with her backhand and lifted it crosscourt, but the Dane leaped up with her racket aloft, reached for the shuttle and snapped a fast drop back towards Dai's backhand front corner.

Dai was scrambling to get back to mid-court and had to quickly reverse direction. She lunged once more for a backhand netshot or lift but she could not get the shuttle back into play. Martin had beaten Dai once again with a shot to the backhand front corner, the same area of the court where Dai had lost match point at the world championship final this past May.


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