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Saturday, June 02, 2001, updated at 10:47(GMT+8)

China, Indonesia Reach Sudirman Cup Badminton Final

Team China are only one step away from their fourth successive Sudirman Cup as they eliminated a brave Danish side 3-2 in the semifinals of the world badminton mixed team championship Friday in Seville.

China will fight for the trophy in Saturday's final with Indonesia, who beat South Korea 3-1 in a semifinal earlier.

Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen, ranked first in the world, gave Denmark a flying start in the mixed doubles by beating Olympic champion Zhang Jun and Gao Ling 15-11, 15-8.

But Olympic women's singles titlist Gong Zhichao, also two-time All England champion, showed the event remained her domain despite she has slipped from top to fifth in the world rankings, breezing past the current world number one Camilla Martin 15-1, 15-0 in just 23 minutes.

Peter Gade regained the lead for Denmark in a thrilling men's singles match, at the expense of Chinese number one and world fourth-ranked Chen Hong 17-15, 15-11.

Gade raced to a 14-5 lead in the first set but Chen, beaten finalist in the All England championships in March, made a brilliant comeback to pull it even at 14-all.

Chen, 22, a substitute for Olympic champion Ji Xinpeng in the semifinal, went up 15-14 but Gade recovered at the crucial moment and scored three straight points for a 17-15 win.

The Chinese built a 6-2 lead in the second set but was held to 6-6 before Gade led all the way to win the match 15-11.

Gao Ling and Huang Sui put China back into contention after they crushed world second-ranked women's pair Helene Kirkegaard and Rikke Olsen 15-3, 15-2.

Zhang Jun and Zhang Wei sealed China's final berth with a 15-8, 15-9 victory over world number one Jens Eriksen and Jesper Larsen in the men's doubles event.

"The two Zhang's play was just beyond our expectation," Chinese head coach Li Yongbo said. "They saved us from being eliminated."

Li also paid tribute to other players for their "spirited performance" in all the five matches. "Although the mixed doubles and men's singles players lost, but never-say-die spirit encouraged the players in the following matches. "

The Chinese coach said that China would have a similar line-up for Saturday's final. "We will try our best and I am confident," he said.

Earlier, Olympic men's doubles champion Tony Gunawan and Candra Wijaya crushed Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yong Sung of South Korea to send Indonesia to the finals.

Already leading 2-1 after the first three matches, Gunawan/ Wijaya beat Lee/Yoo 15-5, 15-7 in 36 minutes to give Indonesia an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Veteran Lidya Djaelawijaya came back from one set behind to beat Jun Jae Youn 4-11, 11-9, 13-12 to give Indonesia a 2-1 lead over South Korea after the two sides shared the two points after the mixed doubles and men's singles.

World number three Taufik Hidayat made it 1-1 for Indonesia as he fought back from 8-11 down in the first set to beat Lee Hyun Ii of South Korea 15-11, 15-5.

South Korea opened a 1-0 lead over Indonesia when Kim Dong Moon/ Ra Kyung Min beat Tri Kusharyanto/Vita Marisa in straight sets in the mixed doubles.

Kim/Ra took 43 minutes to oust the Indonesian tandem 15-7, 15-7 to put South Korea up in the best-of-five tie.

Indonesia's head coach Christian Hadinata was happy but also felt a little surprised with the win.

"I am a little surprised because South Korea are stronger than us in the doubles events," he said.

"We had predicted we could lose 2-3 or win 3-2.

"There should be no problem to win the men's singles and men's doubles and the women's doubles and mixed doubles are South Korea' s events. So the women's singles will be the decisive match."

But Hadinata admitted that winning the trophy again after 12 years was impossible because China was "too strong".

"Chinese players are stronger in all the events, " he said. " Though we have men's doubles Olympic champions, but their pair Zhang Jun and Zhang Wei are also very good. I saw them play in last year's Thomas Cup in Malaysia."

"China will win the championship tomorrow even though we can rest a longer time," he said.

In This Section

Team China are only one step away from their fourth successive Sudirman Cup as they eliminated a brave Danish side 3-2 in the semifinals of the world badminton mixed team championship Friday in Seville.

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