Mon, 24 Jan 2000

Candra and Tony clinch first title this year in Taipei

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's best men's doubles Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan earned their first title this year in the US$150,000 Chinese Taipei Open after defeating the 1996 Olympics silver medalists Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock 15-7, 15-7 in Sunday's final at the Taipei Municipal Sports Center.

Overall, Indonesia won one title, Denmark took home three while the Netherlands earned one title.

Candra and Tony had little trouble eliminating the Malaysians as they were faster and stronger. The Indonesians led 8-0 in the first game, giving a chance to the Malaysians to earn seven points before the match concluded.

In the second game, they lead 12-2 before starting to feel the pressure as the Malaysians earned five more points. But their experience led them to claim the title by winning 15-7.

Coach Herry Imam Pierngadi said in a telephone interview that both Cheah and Yap failed to perform their best as they were getting older.

"They didn't have the same power and speed as when they reached the Olympics finals. Since the start of the final, I was sure Candra and Tony wouldn't have any difficulty dealing with the Malaysians," he said.

"The real final was yesterday in the semifinals when Candra and Tony had to play a rubber set against second seeds Lee Dong- soo and Yoo Yong-sung of South Korea. I think Lee and Yoo are much better than the world number one pair of Kim Dong-moon and Ha Tae-kwon."

Herry expressed disappointment as he had expected an all- Indonesian final.

"We sent five pairs but only one reached the final. It's really sad. However, the withdrawal of Kim and Ha influenced the draw as the best players had to meet each other before the semifinals."

Men's singles world number one player Peter Gade Christensen added one more title on his collection by claiming the crown after defeating young Malaysian star Wong Choon Han 15-9, 15-5. Gade Christensen won his first title this year in the Korean Open last week.

In the women's singles, qualifier Mia Audina earned her first title since winning the 1998 Indonesia Open in Jakarta. Mia, a former Indonesian favorite who moved to the Netherlands with her husband last year, defeated Thai Sujitra Eakmongkolpaisarn 13-11, 11-2.

Top seeds Ra Kyung-min and Chung Jae-hee of South Korea won the finals by defeating second seeds Helene Kirkegaard and Rikke Olsen of Denmark 15-6, 15-7.

Mixed doubles Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen, second seeded here, outclassed teammates Jens Eriksen and Mette Schjoldager 15- 5, 15-9. (yan)