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Malaysian Open: Unseeded Luo Yigang Gains Finals Shot
** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by
YANG YANG Badminton Products and
their Ontario (Canada) agents -
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July 3, 1999 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Luo Yigang of China, ranked number fifty
in the world in badminton men's singles, once again sprung a surprise at the
Malaysian Open championships at the Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam, Selangor.
The unseeded Chinese player who last night had upended teammate and current
world champion Sun Jun with a 15-8 and 15-3 scoreline convincingly trounced
the seventh-seeded Rashid Sidek of Malaysia in a semifinal contest this
evening 15-3 and 15-3 to earn a spot in tomorrow's final.
Luo's excellent court coverage and strong attack was devastating against
Sidek. In the first game, he burst out quickly to a 4-0 lead before the
Malaysian could get on the scoreboard. Sidek strung three points together but
all the rallies went Luo's way after that.
In the second set, Sidek opened with two scores but Luo then asserted control
of the play and limited the Malaysian to only one more point. After only 30
minutes of semifinal match play, Luo had booked his place in the championship
Luo's latest two wins are a surprise not so much because he defeated seeded
players but because he has done it with big margins. After all, Luo was once
ranked as high as third in the world in 1998. However, he went through a bad
slump last year after he lost a key semifinal match in the Thomas Cup Finals
(the world men's team championships) and did not even qualify to play in the
world individual championships this past May.
Many observers felt that in yesterday's match, world champion Sun Jun was a
step slower than usual. After Luo's overwhelming victory over Sidek today,
the same observers indicated that Luo's play may just have been very sharp
and greatly in-form both yesterday against Sun and today against Sidek.
In the other men's singles semifinal, an all-Malaysian matchup, Wong Choon
Hann defeated giantkiller M. Roslin Hashim 15-7 and 15-5. Hashim had scored
the upset of the tournament in the round-of-16 on Thursday when he put out
the world number Peter Gade of Denmark.
Hashim started out well today against Wong. He took an early 3-0 advantage
and then a 6-3 lead in the opening set. Wong rallied his way into the match
and pulled even at 7-all. Hashim's play then went sour as Wong tallied the
next 8 points to take the first game 15-8.
In the second, Hashim continued to play without the fire and the high quality
that he had displayed in his victories over top-seeded Peter Gade on Thursday
and sixth-seeded Ong Ewe Hock yesterday. Wong took the second handily 15-5.
In the men's doubles semifinals, Indonesian pairs avenged their medal shutout
at the recent world championships when they beat both the world champion duo
of Ha Tae Kwon and Kim Dong Moon of Korea and the world championships silver
medalists Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yung Sung, also of Korea. Flandy Limpele and
Eng Hian upset the world champions 15-5 and 15-11, while Chandra Wijaya and
Tony Gunawan defeated Lee and Yoo 15-3 and 15-5.
The powerhouse Chinese women players guaranteed themselves a second 1999
Malaysian Open title when women's doubles world champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun
beat Indonesia's Eliza Nathanael and Deyana Lomban 15-8, 11-15 and 15-4, and
their teammates Qin Yiyuan and Gao Ling defeated another Indonesian pair,
Etty Tantri and Chynthia Tuwankotta, 15-11 and 15-10 in semifinal action.
The Chinese already were certain of the women's singles title with all four
of today's semifinalists coming from China. In today's matchups, world junior
champion Gong Ruina beat Zhou Mi 1-11, 11-6, 11-9 and world championships
runner-up Dai Yun beat Yao Jie 11-3, 6-11, 11-0.
In the mixed doubles semifinals, top-seeds Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen of
Denmark turned back China's Zhang Jun and Gao Ling 15-2, 12-15 and 15-4, while
second-seeds Tri Kusharyanto and Minarti Timur of Indonesia trounced Korea's
Ha Tae Kwon and Chung Jae Hee 15-5 and 15-2.
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