Koreans Kim and Chung Capture Mixed Doubles Crown
by Mike Grossman (from a report filed by J. Chang)

September 28, 1996 (New Shuttlenws) - Players from badminton powerhouse Indonesia won four of the five event championships at stake today at the badminton U.S. Open tournament in the city of Orange a short distance from Los Angeles with the mixed doubles pair of Kim Dong Mun and Chung So Young from Korea taking the fifth title.

The men's doubles team of Chandra Wijaya and Sigit started the victory parade for Indonesia when they surprised the odds-on favorites, Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock of Malaysia, 18-16 and 15-10.

Wijaya and Sigit had the livelier bodies during the match with both Indonesians jump smashing and darting all over the court. Wijaya and Sigit also had excellent anticipation of Yap Kim Hock's net play and neutralized Yap with their own tumbling net shots, cross court dabs and kills of the diminutive Malaysian's net attempts.

Wijaya and Sigit gained the upper hand early in the first game and had a 12-8 lead. Cheah and Yap clawed their way back to tie at 13-all on a Sigit backhand drive that hit the net.

In the 5-point tiebreak or setting, Yap took the first point with a cross court net shot.

Sigit then managed to get the serve back with a devastating crosscourt jumping smash.

Wijaya knotted the score at 1-all with a kill shot at the net.

The Indonesians upped the score to 2-1 when Yap jumped up to poach a push shot and smashed the shuttle into the net.

On the next serve, the Indonesians unloaded a barrage of smashes that ended when Cheah blocked one into the net. Wijaya and Sigit were now up 3-1.

Cheah the got the service back for the Malaysians with a crosscourt drop shot that caught the Indonesians flatfooted.

The Malaysians then scored the next two points on smash attacks by both Cheah and Yap.

With the score knotted at 3-3, the Indonesians got the serve when Cheah mishit the return of his service.

In the next rally, Wijaya and Sigit went on a smashing spree and got to game point when Cheah blocked a smash out the far end of the court.

Behind 3-4, Yap rushed the Indonesian short serve but Wijaya managed to block it back into an open space to score the game-winner.

In the second game, Wijaya and Sigit rattled off several points in a row to lead 8-0 before Cheah and Yap managed a point.

The Malaysians tried to climb back into contention with furious smash attacks and scrambling defenses but the Indonesians were able to cope with the pressure.

The match ended with a exquisite brushing kill shot at the net by Wijaya of a Yap Kim Hock tumbler.

Mia Audina then followed the men's doubles victory with her first 6-star badminton tournament title when she beat Camilla Martin of Denmark 11-5 and 12-9.

Audina was in command during the first game with her stronger smash and her amazing midbody flexibility that enables her to execute incredible round-the-head smashes and avoid the weaker backhand stroke.

Martin found her stride in the second game and raced to a 7-2 lead before Audina got going.

Audina managed to catch up to Martin at 7-7 on several Martin errors.

Martin scored the next point when Audina hit one of her round-the- head lobs wide.

Martin raised her score to 9 when she anticipated an Audina round-the- head smash and drive-blocked the shuttle cross-court away from the Indonesian.

After several scoreless rallies, Audina scored her eighth point with a cross-court smash and then her ninth point when Martin hit a cross- court smash wide.

Martin exercised her option to set the game to a three-point tiebreak or setting.

Audina then scored the first point of the setting when Martin let an Audina lift land, only to have the shuttle judged to have fallen on the line.

After exchanging services, Martin made two net shot errors under pressure from Audina, giving the Indonesian the game, the match and the championship.

Joko Suprianto followed Audina to the victory stand with his 15-13 15-13 win in the men's singles finals over Olympic gold medalist Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen of Denmark.

In the first game, Suprianto got to a 4-1 lead mainly on errors by the Danish player.

At this point, Hoyer-Larsen asked to test the shuttles as his shots were flying out-of-bounds. Both players agreed that the shuttles were not suitable and there was a delay of several minutes as better shuttles were brought to the court.

Hoyer-Larsen then managed to climb back into the game and tied the score at 5-5.

Suprianto then scored the next three points as Hoyer-Larsen hit several shots wide.

With Suprianto leading 8-5, a dragonfly flew into the court area, disrupting play for several minutes as the players and tournament officials chased the insect away.

In the ensuing play, Hoyer-Larsen again climbed back into the match with crowd-pleasing rallies, moving Suprianto all over the court and scoring on several shots that landed on the lines.

Hoyer-Larsen took the lead 11-10 when, during a flurry of Suprianto smashes and Hoyer-Larsen blocks, the Indonesian broke the one of the strings on his racket and hit a smash into the net.

After exchanging services, Suprianto reached game point on several Hoyer-Larsen net miscues.

Again, the Danish player fought back, scoring his twelfth point when Suprianto returned a short serve into the net and his thirteenth when Suprianto again let a high serve land, thinking it was hit out only to have it judged as having landed on the line.

Suprianto got the serve back when he pressured the Dane into a wide net shot.

Suprianto then scored the game-winner when Hoyer-Larsen hit the shuttle into the net with an uncharacteristic jump smash.

In the second game, Suprianto raced to a 6-0 lead again mainly on Danish errors.

Hoyer-Larsen regained his touch and started to exchange points with the Indonesian as he and Suprianto moved each other around the court.

With the Indonesian up 11-4, Hoyer-Larsen tallied 4 points on several miscues by a pressured Suprianto.

Suprianto then got the serve back when the Dane hit a backhand clear out of the court.

In the next rally, Hoyer-Larsen hit the shuttle wide, giving Suprianto his twelfth point.

After exchanging serves, Suprianto got to thirteen when the Dane smashed the shuttles wide.

After two scoreless but crowd-pleasing rallies, Suprianto gained match point when Hoyer-Larsen smashed the shuttle into the net.

Again, the Olympic champion fought back. He regained the serve on a smash then scored his ninth point on a Suprianto round-the-head clear that went wide, his tenth when Suprianto again let a high serve drop in, and his eleventh when, during a flurry of smashes, he hit a backhand clear that Suprianto half-smashed into the net.

With Hoyer-Larsen catching up, Suprianto tried to slow the Danish momentum down by taking his time between serves. At 14-11, he was given a misconduct warning for delaying the game.

The next point was still Hoyer-Larsen's when he hit a smash that the Indonesian blocked to the net. Score: 14-12, Suprianto still ahead.

Hoyer-Larsen then scored on a backhand smash to the line.

In the next rally, Suprianto was under pressure from a series of Hoyer-Larsen drops and half-smashes when he was able to lift the shuttle just above Hoyer-Larsen's reach and land it on the line.

With Suprianto serving for the match, Hoyer-Larsen still fought on, regaining the serve on a smash to the Indonesian's backhand.

Suprianto was up to the challenge and managed to pressure the Dane into a net error after the two had played another long rally.

With the service again in his hands at match point, Suprianto chose to serve backhand and was rewarded with the match and the championship when Hoyer-Larsen hit his return of the short serve into the net.

Next up in the Indonesian victory parade was the women's doubles pair of Eliza and Rosiana Zelin. Their smash attack and Zelin's quick forays into the net area for kills were too much for Joanne Goode and Julie Bradbury of England, although the two English women did give a good account of themselves.

Eliza and Zelin beat Goode and Bradbury 15-6 and 15-5 to claim the women's doubles title.

In the mixed doubles finals, the Korean pair of champions from two different Olympics, Kim Dong Mun (Atlanta mixed doubles gold medalist) and Chung So Young (Barcelona women's doubles gold medalist) prevailed over the relatively new combination of Chris Hunt from England and Helene Kirkegaard from Denmark 15-5 and 15-7.

The Olympic champions took advantage of errors by Helene Kirkegaard at the net and a lack of cohesiveness on defense between the English player Hunt and the Danish player Kirkegaard to bag the mixed doubles crown.