WORLD CUP: SUN JUN BREAKS THROUGH; SUSANTI WINS FIFTH
** This NEW SHUTTLENWS REPORT is presented by badminton world champions YANG
YANG and ZHAO JIAN HUA and by YANG YANG BADMINTON PRODUCTS **
August 24, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - China's young badminton star Sun Jun
scored a breakthrough victory today at the finals of the World Cup in the
Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. Sun who had had disappointing losses due to
injury in the men's singles finals of two major tournaments - the World Grand
Prix Finals in December last year and the world badminton championships in
early June this year - defeated Indonesian veteran Joko Suprianto 15-9 and
15-8 to bag the first major title of his young career.
Sun took the initiative early in the championship match as Suprianto often
played sluggishly and without his usual crisp movement around the court. The
young Chinese star grabbed the early lead in both games and controlled the
hour-long match throughout.
Sun, known more as a "runner" who retrieves and returns every shot from his
opponent, showed today that he also has a power game. He consistently unloaded
powerful and steep smashes at Suprianto and often scored on shots to the
surprised Indonesian's backhand side.
In women's singles, Susi Susanti of Indonesia defeated world champion Ye
Zhaoying of China 11-8 and 11-5 to win her fifth World Cup title and to cement
her reputation as the greatest women's singles player ever.
When the Susanti-Ye match began, it appeared as if it was going to be Ye's
day. The Chinese world champion took an early 5-2 lead as Susanti played
inconsistently. Susanti though found her game and climbed back into the match
with patient rallying play. She closed in and then took a 6-5 lead herself. Ye
pulled slightly ahead at 8-7 but Susanti caught up at 8-all.
The pressure of the tight end game was too much for the Chinese player as she
made several unforced errors, allowing Susanti to take the first set 11-8.
In the second game, the two exchanged points until Susanti started to combine
clearing rallies with sudden crosscourt dropshots. The shift in tactics
enabled the Indonesian star to pull away from a 5-all score to a 9-5 lead.
Susanti changed tactics again as she tried to close out the match. She tried
a power game, smashing at Ye but the Chinese player was able to thwart Susanti
and blocked her smashes back.
Susanti then reverted to her patient style and finished the game 11-5.
In the men's doubles finals, an inspired Indonesian pair of Ricky Subagja and
Rexy Mainaky, the Olympic champions, demolished Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yung Sung
of Korea in the first game 15-1. In the second set, Subagja and Mainaky held
the early lead 6-3 but then started to take it easy. The letdown in their play
enabled the Koreans to come back and take the game 15-10.
In the third game, the Indonesians put the pressure back on and whipped Lee
and Yoo 15-3.
According to some Indonesian players, Subagja and Mainaky played really hard
in the first and third games because they wanted to completely disprove
comments from a Korean coach that they were on the way down.
The men's doubles finals also featured some controversy. With the score at
10-3 in the third game, Lee unloaded a smash towards the sidelines and a line
judge called the shot out. Lee was incensed by the obvious bad call and
started to argue with the umpire and the line judge. The tournament referee
was called in and the line judge was replaced. However, because, unlike
tennis, badminton rules do not allow the umpire to overrule a line call, the
line judge's decision stood.
After the men's doubles final, the Korean players commented that Indonesian
line judges often make bad calls, specially in matches involving Indonesian
stars against players from other countries.
When asked about the comment from the Koreans, a Chinese player said that
Korean line judges also make bad line calls when they play in Korea against
In mixed doubles, Liu Yong and Ge Fei, the world champions from China,
remained undefeated in individual competition. Liu and Ge beat Trikus Heryanto
and Minarti Timur of Indonesia 12-15, 15-7 and 15-10.
In an all-China women's doubles finals, world champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun
defeated world championships silver medalists Qin Yiyuan and Tang Yongshu
15-10, 9-15 and 15-9.
The three Chinese World Cup titles today to Indonesia's two championships
confirms China's current standing as the best badminton-playing nation with
badminton-crazy Indonesia playing an unaccustomed second-fiddle.
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