Sun, 08 Apr 2001

RI secures two Japan Open final tickets

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian shuttlers have secured two final berths at the US$180,000 Japan Open in the men's and mixed doubles while China has claimed two titles in the women's singles and doubles as it created all-Chinese finals in both events.

Former world champions Candra Wijaya and Sigit Budiarto, seventh seeds here, reached the final after crushing exhausted Malaysians Chew Choon Eng and Chan Chong Ming 15-8, 15-11 at the Yoyogi Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday.

Unfortunately, teammates and All England winners Tony Gunawan and Halim Heryanto bowed out to Danish sixth seeds Martin Lundgaard Hansen and Lars Paaske 15-6, 7-15, 10-15.

"We had a relatively easy match today because I saw both Chew and Chan were too tired after a stirring match against Chinese Zhang Wei and Zhang Jun yesterday," Sigit told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview.

Speaking about Sunday's final, Sigit expressed optimism of winning.

"To be honest, until today I have yet to reach my peak form of 1997, but it's still much better than when competing in the All England last month.

"In tomorrow's match we mustn't underestimate Martin and Lars. We'll try to minimize our unforced errors ... I believe we can still win over them."

In the mixed doubles, Minarti Timur managed to take revenge on Olympic Chinese winners Zhang Jun and Gao Ling, this time with new partner Bambang Suprianto, outclassing them 15-13, 4-15, 15- 8.

"I'm very satisfied at being able to take revenge, even though it wasn't with my old partner Tri (Kusheryanto). We're only one step away from winning and we must really focus on it. We mustn't make unforced errors in tomorrow's final," Minarti said by phone.

The Indonesians will face another Chinese duo of Liu Yong and Cheng Jiao, who easily ousted Indonesians Nova Widhianto and Vita Marissa 15-4, 15-7.

China dominated the women's sector by creating all-Chinese finals in both singles and doubles matches.

Second seed Zhou Mi buried host Japanese sole semifinalist Kaori Mori's hopes of reaching the final by winning 11-9, 11-2. Zhou will face Gong Ruina, who eliminated compatriot Zhang Ning 13-11, 11-4.

"It was tougher than my previous two matches, because she (Mori) put the shuttle back really well," said Zhou, 22. "When I took a 7-3 lead, I was rushing a bit to take a point and I was soon 7-9 down.

"But I calmed myself down and tried to be patient. I feel she has improved since I last played her," added Zhou, who took three games to beat Mori in their first meeting in July 1999.

Mori said, as quoted by AFP: "I took part in the Japan Open six times and I never got past the first round before. This week, I played two Chinese and I found that I can rally against top players much better than I had expected.

"I feel I can read the course of their shots. I just need a shot to win a point. That is what I'm going to improve from now on," added Mori.

In the women's doubles, Huang Nanyan and Yang Wei of China defeated teammates Zhang Jiewen and Wei Yili 15-5, 15-12 while compatriots Gao Ling and Huang Sui crushing Chien Yu-chin and Cheng Wen-hsin of Chinese Taipei 15-3, 15-2.

In the men's singles, Malaysian rising star and second seed Roslin Hashim, fresh from his Swiss Open victory mid last month, will face Lee Hyun-il of South Korea in Sunday's final.

Hashim disposed another Korean Shon Seung-mo 15-11, 15-11 while Lee upset Chinese sixth seed Chen Hong 15-12, 15-11. (yan)