MALAYSIAN OPEN: JUNIOR LADIES TOPPLE SEEDS; RUSTY RASHID HAS CLOSE CALL
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July 9, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Two of the world's top junior women's players
showed their potential today at the Malaysian Open badminton tournament in
Kota Kinabalu. Zhou Mi of China, a women's singles silver medalist at the
1997 Asian Junior badminton championships in Manila, Philippines, outlasted
Kim Ju Hyun of Korea, one of the semifinalists at the 1996 Olympic Games and
seeded 3rd-and-4th in Kota Kinabalu, in a first round matchup. Zhou beat Kim
11-6, 2-11 and 11-9 in the upset of the day.
India's Aparna Popat, who surprised many last year at the world junior
championships in Silkeborg, Denmark with her silver medal finish, surprised
the 5-to-8 seeded Meiluawati of Indonesia with her racket skills and won
her first-round match, 11-9 and 11-5.
In men's singles, Rashid Sidek of Malaysia returned to competition after a
three-month layoff and looked rusty as he played sluggishly against Japan's
Fumihiko Machida. Sidek, who was injured in the finals of the Swiss Open in
late March and who did not play in the world championships due to a training
schedule dispute with the Badminton Association of Malaysia, looked slower
than usual and was playing with a heavy bandage around his thigh.
Sidek did manage to beat the Japanese player 15-10 and 15-6, but had a more
difficult time later in the second round against Korean Kim Hyung Joon.
The Korean coaching staff had noticed Sidek's problems during the match with
Machida and had advised Kim to play a fast attacking game.
The Korean tactics worked in the first game, with Kim racing away to an
astounding 15-1 score.
Rashid turned the tables in the second game and went on the attack himself.
Scoring with smashes to the sidelines combined with drop shots, Sidek won
the second 15-9.
In the decider, Kim started out quick and fast and had the lead over Sidek
early at 6-3 and still held the lead at the change of ends, 8-6. However, with
a possible upset victory within reach, the young Korean was beset with errors
as well as cramps. Sidek outsteadied Kim and limited the Korean to only one
more point while he went on to post the win at 15-9.
In a minor upset in men's singles, Korean Yim Jae Sung eliminated 9-to-16
seed Thomas Sogaard of Denmark 15-6, 4-15 and 15-11.
The other seeds led by men's singles top pick Joko Suprianto of Indonesia and
women's singles world champion Ye Zhaoying of China won their matches easily.
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