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

Grand Prix Finals: Gade Captures Singles Crown

** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by YANG YANG Badminton Products and their Western Canada agents - MAAKL Corporation, Saint Albert, Alberta (Tel 780-458-2026/ Fax 780-459-8891) **

December 5, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Peter Gade of Denmark today made another mark in the history of badminton by capturing the men's singles title of the 1999 World Grand Prix Finals, the sport's year-ending tournament of champions and top performers, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Gade recovered from a horrible start in the men's singles final this evening to defeat Marleve Mainaky of Indonesia 15-11 and 15-3. With the victory, Gade ended a fourteen year Asian stranglehold on the men's singles championship of the prestigious competition and became the first non-Asian player to hold the title since the nearly legendary Dane Morten Frost accomplished the feat in 1984.

In mixed doubles, world champions (Mr.) Kim Dong Moon and (Ms.) Ra Kyung Min of South Korea affirmed their supremacy in the event by successfully defending their World Grand Prix Finals title. In today's championship match, they beat (Mr.) Tri Kusheryanto and (Ms.) Minarti Timur soundly 15-7 and 15-7.

Former women's singles world champion Ye Zhaoying of China today showed the world that she was not yet done. Ye, who was humbled at the world championships this past May when she was bundled out of the tournament in the first round, defeated world number one Dai Yun, also from China, 11-4, 6-11 and 11-9 to regain the World Grand Prix Finals title she previously held in 1997.

Women's doubles world champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun of China continued their dominance of their event. In today's final, the Chinese pair demolished Chung Jae Hee and Ra Kyung Min of Korea, the world number twos, 15-2 and 15-4, in a contest that was as truly one-sided as the scores indicate.

In the men's doubles event, Tony Gunawan and Chandra Wijaya of Indonesia staked their claim to the top of the world rankings by beating current world champions and world number ones Ha Tae Kwon and Kim Dong Moon of South Korea 15-7, 8-15 and 15-11 in today's title contest.

In the men's singles final, Gade started very poorly and fell terribly behind. Mainaky. The Indonesian uncorked several scoring shots - a net spinner, a killshot and a snap smash, and Gade made several errors to put the score at 7-0 in favour of Mainaky.

Gade finally broke into the scoring when Mainaky hit a shot wide. The two then had a string of 8 scoreless service turns before Gade scored again on an error by Mainaky at the net.

Gade tallied a third marker on a steeply-angled jumpsmash. The Indonesian though fought hard to stay ahead. He retook the serve with a killshot that ended an exchange at the net. Gade countered and regained the serve. Mainaky once again took the service back, this time with a beautifully executed hesitation backhand lift that so wrongfooted Gade that he slipped trying to change direction.

The Dane was not to be outdone. On Mainaky's service turn, Gade played his own version of a hesitation lift and wrongfooted the Indonesian into a late and weak punchclear that the Dane jumpsmashed crosscourt.

Gade then scored 4 times on his service turn to tie up the game at 7-all, first on a Mainaky netshot mistake, second on an outstretched snap backhand clear from midcourt that surprised the Indonesian, third on a Mainaky backhand drive that went long, and then on another Mainaky mistake at the net.

The Indonesian stopped Gade's string with a quickly-played snap jumpsmash. He then scored with a backhanded drive into Gade's body to inch ahead 8-7. He added another point when his short lift attempt over Gade's head landed on a sideline.

Gade came back with a jumpsmash to regain the serve. In the next rally, the Indonesian went on the attack. He struck another of those quickly-executed snap smashes towards Gade's forehand sideline. Gade stretched out to block and snapped his wrist to send the shuttle crosscourt, stranding Mainaky on the wrong sideline and scoring a point.

Gade made a mistake on his driveshot on the next rally and he had to surrender the serve. The Indonesian good use of the chance and scored twice to take an 11-8 advantage.

Gade though came back strong with jumpsmashes and jumpclears. Aided by several Mainaky mistakes, the Dane scored the next seven points to win the set at 15-11.

The start of the second game was the opposite of the first. This time around, it was Mainaky that started poorly and Gade who came out in superb form. The Dane powered quickly and methodically to a 12-1 and then to a 13-3 advantage, as Mainaky managed to squeeze in two markers.

Gade then reached championship point when Mainaky struck a backhand dropshot that Gade pounced on with a kill.

Gade served for the title. Mainaky tried to pin Gade to the backhand side with a lift. Gade struck a steep backhand drop. Mainaky had gone back to base and was forced to lift again. Gade sent another backhand drop back. Once again the Indonesian had to lift.

THis time though, the Dane went for a round-the-head smash at Mainaky's body. The shot surprised the Indonesian and he could not keep the shuttle in play. Gade had won the set and a World Grand Prix Finals title 15-3.

In the women's singles final, Dai Yun and Ye Zhaoying played each other even-steven in the early moments of the first set. With the score tied at 3-all, Ye began to find the right shot combinations to get past Dai's defense. She then pulled away to take the set 11-4.

Early in the second set, Ye continued to find the right shots against Dai and took a 4-1 then 6-3 lead. The lefthanded Dai was able to come back into the match as Ye began to falter.

Dai pulled even at 6-all and then took the lead at 7-6 when Ye sent the shuttle wide with a backhanded drive. Dai then tallied the next 4 points to take the set 11-6.

In the decider, Ye made error after error to fall behind 0-4. However, she began to play more aggressively and scored her first point with a smash-then- kill combination. She added two more points before Dai was able to score again to stay ahead at 5-3.

Ye battled back to tie at 5-all and then took a 7-5 lead on two Dai Yun mistakes.

Then it was Dai's turn to play aggressively. She struck a smash to end a Ye service turn. On her serve, she smashed and smashed again to score her sixth.

Ye got the serve back when Dai hit the shuttle into the net. Dai though smashed Ye's high serve to regain control. Dai then pulled even with Ye at 7-all when Ye struck a smash wide. She then seized the lead when Ye sent the shuttle out-of-bounds.

In the next rally, Ye went on the attack. Dai defended well and scored with a crosscourt lift reply that stranded Ye in mid-court. Dai was now only two points away from the title, 9-7.

Ye once again went on the attack. Her smash-and-dropshot combination paid off and she got the serve back. Ye stayed aggressive. She attacked and smashed fot a point to close the gap 8-9. In the next rally, she got into a net exchange with Dai and scored when she delayed her net shot and then struck a net spinner as Dai started to step away from the net.

The set was now all knotted up at 9-all, Ye serving. In the rally that followed, Ye struck a dropshot. Dai replied with a netspinner. Ye raced in to the net and stretched for her shot. Dai, perhaps not wanting to be fooled as she was in the repvious rally, hovered near the net, waiting for the netshot reply. Instead though, Ye struck a crosscourt drive that Dai could not reach.

Ye was now at championship point 10-9. Ye served low. Dai pushed the shuttle to Ye's forehand rear corner. Ye scrambled back and only had time to strike a rising drive. Dai reached up and smashed the shuttle crosscourt away from Ye. Dai though did not get the right steepness on her smash and the shuttle flew wide of the court. Ye had scored. She was once again a World Grand Prix Finals champion.

In the men's doubles final, the two pairs, Ha and Kim as well as Gunawan and Wijaya, tried mightily to keep the rallies flat and low and fast so that the other side could not unload their strong smashes and follow-up killshots. The Indonesians though had more variety to their shots and countered the Korean pair's drives with drive replies as well as with tricky change-of-tempo or change-of-direction shots.

The Indonesians won most of the driving rallies outright or forced the Koreans to lift in the first set. They won it 15-7.

In the second, it was the Korean pair who had the advantage in the drive exchanges and who forced the other side to lift so that they could pound away with jumpsmashes and kills. Ha and Kim took the second 15-8.

In the decider, the Indonesians once again were quicker on the drive rallies and took a 5-2 lead. Ha and Kim though stayed close as their drives began to get though the Indonesian defenses.

With the score at 8-5 in their favor, the Indonesians began to pull away as the taller Koreans began to problems with drives to the body and as they began to misfire with their drives and drive blocks.

Gunawan and Wijaya added four points to increase their lead. The Koreans though battled back. They got the Indonesians to lift and Ha scored when he followed up a Kim jumpsmash with a kill. They scored again when Ha's stellar defense against Gunawan's smashes and drives forced Gunawan into a mishit.

In the next rally, the Koreans once again got the Indonesians to lift. Ha jumpsmashed at the lifted shuttle and jumpsmashed again after the Indonesians blocked the smash. The Indonesians blocked this smash crosscourt and low, but Kim was waiting for it. He pounded a kill crosscourt to put the score at 12-8, the Indonesians still ahead.

In the next rally, it was the Indonesians who got the Koreans to lift. Wijaya and Gunawan hammered shots at the Koreans but Ha and Kim defended well and kept the rally alive despite seemingly certain killshot winners from the Indonesians. Ha and Kim though could withstand the Indonesian attack for only so long. Wijaya finally got through with a killshot to take the service back.

On their turn, Gunawan and Wijaya reached championship point with two scores. The first came when they pressured Ha to end a drive rally with drive to the net. Kim gifted the Indonesians with the second when he mishit a kneeling driveshot reply.

The Koreans though were not done for. Kim struck a jumpsmash-jumpsmash combination to take the service back. They then scored when Wijaya mishit a killshot. They scored again with a towering jumpsmash from the 6-foot 3-inch Ha. And they scored once more on a drive exchange when the Indonesians popped a reply up and Ha pounced on the shuttle with a half-court smash.

The Koreans were closing in at 11-14. In the next rally though, the Koreans had to give up the serve when the tall Ha half-knelt for a drive block reply and mishit the shuttle.

Gunawan then served for the title. Kim hit a drive and then followed with a jumpsmash when the Indonesians lifted. The Indonesians blocked Kim's smash to the net but Ha was there and he hammered a killshot to save another match point.

Wijaya then took his service turn. Kim pushed the shuttle at the Indonesians and forced a lift. Ha struck a round-the-head jumpsmash at Wijaya. Wijaya was only able to block it with a short pop-up. Kim pounced on the shuttle with a killshot. Alas for the Koreans though, Kim hit the missile too strongly and sent it out-of-bounds to give the Indonesian championship point 15-11.


Posted With The Permission Of The Copyright Holder.