Sun, 14 Jan 2001

Gade Christensen, Martin score wins

JAKARTA (JP): Men's and women's singles defending champions Peter Gade Christensen and Camilla Martin are one step closer to retaining their titles in the opening tournament of the International Badminton Federation (IBF) Grand Prix Series at the US$250,000 Samsung Korea Open in Hanra Gymnasium on Cheju Island, South Korea.

Top seed Gade Christensen, who is now the world number two, ousted All England winner and world number five Xia Xuanze of China 15-8, 15-10 in Saturday's semifinals. The Danish 24 year old will meet with Chinese young star Xiao Hui in the final.

Unseeded Xiao killed the hopes of South Korean spectators of seeing their young hero Lee Hyun-il reach the final after outclassing the host player 15-6, 15-9.

World champion Martin, who off court is Gade Christensen's girlfriend, also managed grab her final ticket after sending home Zeng Yaqiong of China 11-4, 11-3.

Martin will be challenged by host shuttler and fourth seed Kim Ji-hyun on Sunday. The South Korean was too powerful for Chinese young starlet Xie Xinfang, winner of the 2000 Asian Badminton Championships, and won 11-7, 13-11.

Host South Korea ensured a title in the all-Korean men's doubles final between Olympics silver medalists Lee Dong-soo and Yoo Yong-sung and Olympics bronze medalists Kim Dong-moon and Ha Tae-kwon.

Lee and Yoo defeated Jesper Larsen and Jens Eriksen of Denmark 15-10, 15-10 while Kim and Ha won over Jim Laugesen and Michael Sogaard also of Denmark 15-12, 15-8.

Should Lee and Yoo win Sunday's match, they will retain their title. Last year they beat Indonesian Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky, who have switched to a coach for the England team.

South Korea is also placing two pairs in the women's doubles and mixed doubles.

A new partnership of Ra Kyung-min and Kim Kyeung-ran will challenge top seeds Huang Nanyan and Yang Wei of China on Sunday.

Ra and Kim crushed compatriots Yim Kyung-jin and Lee Hyo-jung 15-7, 15-3 while Huang and Yang had to exert themselves to overcome Lee Kyung-won and Chung Jae-hee 8-15, 15-12, 15-9.

In the mixed doubles, defending champions and third seeds Kim Dong-moon and Ra Kyung-min will challenge Olympics gold medalists Zhang Jun and Gao Ling of China.

Kim and Ra eliminated Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen of Denmark 15-5, 15-8 while Zhang and Gao defeated Ha Tae-kwon and Chung Jae-hee of South Korea 15-11, 15-8. (yan)