U.S. OPEN: MEN'S SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
by Tom Kerrins
** This NEW SHUTTLENWS REPORT is presented by badminton world champions
YANG YANG (1987 and 1989) and ZHAO JIAN HUA (1991) and by
YANG YANG BADMINTON PRODUCTS **
September 14, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - The 1996 Olympic champion Poul-Erik
Hoyer-Larsen from Denmark faced young teammate Peter Gade Christensen in the
men's singles championship match of the U.S. Open badminton tournament played
yesterday in the city of Orange in California.
Hoyer is ranked number four in the world and was the top-seed in the tourney.
Gade is rated eighth and was seeded fifth.
Hoyer and Gade exchanged scores in the early going. At 3-3, Hoyer started to
pull ahead. The Olympic champion hit a dropshot and then faked a move towards
the rearcourt. Gade hit a net shot which Hoyer pounced on for a score 4-3.
Hoyer moved ahead 5-3 when he got the better of Gade in a driving exchange.
A Gade drop shot mistake gave Hoyer his sixth tally.
Hoyer added another point but Gade countered with a score of his own. At 7-4
and with Gade serving, the two rallied. Gade ended this exchange with a
perfectly placed lift that landed right on the lines with Hoyer thinking that
the shuttle would be wide.
Gade's fifth would be his last point for a while. Hoyer pulled ahead with
five points mainly on smashing errors from an over-aggressive Gade.
Gade broke his scoreless string to notch point number six, but then made a
series of mistakes that handed game point to Hoyer. Still another Gade error
gave the Olympic champion the win at 15-6.
Gade maintained his aggressive tactics early and took a 3-0 lead. Hoyer tried
to pick up his pace but then started to hurry his shots too much. He did notch
a point on a Gade error with a push shot that went too long, but after that,
Gade scored and scored to move ahead 6-1.
Hoyer tallied his second point with a net winner. Gade countered and scored
with a drive into Hoyer's body. After an exchange of serves, Gade erred on a
jumpsmash, giving Hoyer a third point.
Gade's aggression paid off several times as he scored on several Hoyer errors
to raise his advantage to 9-3. At this juncture, the two exchanged several
scoreless turns at serve, until Hoyer finally broke through with a marker.
Hoyer scored again when Gade made a mistake with a dropshot. After Gade had
retaken the serve, the two rallied. Hoyer hit what may have been a crosscourt
drop shot winner, but Gade had read the shot well. He pounced on the shuttle
as it was crossing the net and killed it for another marker.
Hoyer gained several points on Gade errors to come closer 7-10, but Gade
then clamped down and moved ahead 11-7 on a bullet-like drive shot. Gade
scored again with a shot that ticked the top of the tape and fell over into
Gade reached game point 14-7 with two more tallies. He then took the game
15-7 with a drive shot down the center.
Hoyer was in command of the decider from the beginning. He raced to a 5-1
advantage and scored his sixth with a typical dropshot, fake move to the
rearcourt and then net kill sequence.
After Gade had scored a point, Hoyer moved ahead 7-2 on a dropshot error by
Gade. Gade got the serve back and then got lucky as Hoyer's dropshot ticked
the top of the net, teetered momentarily and then fell back into Hoyer's end.
Gade tallied another point to reach 4-7, but then became too impatient and
started to hurry his shots. Hoyer began to pull away again, scoring his ninth
when Gade misjudged the shuttle and let it drop in.
Hoyer then started to use quick, flat clears forcing Gade into off-balance
shots and errors. Hoyer's tactics were rewarded with his tenth point when Gade
smashed a shuttle into the net.
After Hoyer himself had made mistakes giving Gade two points, the Olympic
champion was in control, forcing the play and inducing Gade into errors.
At 11-6, Hoyer scored with a sequence of 4 tight dropshots followed by a net
winner. Then two Gade errors gave Hoyer match point at 14-6.
Hoyer again controlled play and scored the final point when he maneuvered
Gade into another error.
In a post-match interview, Hoyer analyzed his play.
He said that in the second game, Gade settled down and stopped making errors
on his attack. Hoyer also mentioned that after Gade had gained a 6-1 lead, it
became very difficult to come back and win the second set.
Hoyer also said that he began to use attacking clears in the third to force
Gade into errors.
When asked about Gade's happy post-match reaction despite the loss, Hoyer said
that Gade and he were on the same team and practice together and that Gade was
like a younger brother to him.
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