WORLD JUNIORS 2006 – Top Seeds Through to the Final

The top two seeds, Korea and China, secured their places in the final of the team competition at the World Junior Championships in Incheon, Korea. They beat Malaysia and Indonesia […]
ImageThe top two seeds, Korea and China, secured their places in the final of the team competition at the World Championships in Incheon, Korea. They beat Malaysia and Indonesia respectively, with both ties finishing at 3-1.
Don Hearn reports
Second seeds China triumphed over Indonesia.
As with the previous round, these championships have shown us that while the traditional strengths of most countries is evident in their junior squads, the performance of young players may not be entirely predictable.

The closest match by far was the mixed doubles. CJ Subakti and Pia Berbadet dropped the first game to Liu Xiaolong and Liao Jingmei but tied it up at one game all. Indonesia led for most of the third game but the Chinese saved two match points and got one of their own at 22-21. The Indonesians kept their cool and scored 3 points in a row to win the match.

Wang Yihan again struggled in the semi-finals, this time against Indonesian Aprilia Yuswandari. Aprilia led thoughout most of both games, finally relinquishing the lead at 15-16 in the first and at 10-11 in the second. However, once Wang did take the lead in each game, she refused to let her opponent back into the game and ended up winning 21-17, 21-14.

With Tommy Sugiarto losing in straight games to Lu Qicheng in boys’ singles, China’s victory seemed to be sealed and, sure enough, Asian Junior Champions Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli made quick work of the Indonesian girls to finish the tie with a 21-6, 21-13 drubbing.

Asian Junior Team Champions Korea thrilled a local crowd of a few hundred, beating Malaysia in a repeat of July’s Asian Junior Team Championship final, which Korea also won. Han Ki-hoon was much more convincing this time and delivered the boys’ singles point with only a little difficulty.

Just as in Kuala Lumpur, Jang Soo-young won the first game of the girls’ singles before dropping two more to Lydia Cheah. Lydia was playing well but the lanky Jang continued to return everything the Malaysian could throw at her and just waited for Cheah to make errors, which she did with surprising consistency. In the second game, Cheah started to turn up the heat and the increase in pace seemed to take her opponent by surprise, forcing Jang to make her own share of errors. Jang looked increasingly discouraged as Cheah took the two remaining games and thus the match.

The boys’ doubles team of Lee Yong-dae and Cho Gun-woo released a relentless onslaught that the Malaysians had no clue how to handle, as evidenced by the score 21-8, 21-11. It was then left to Korea’s girls’ doubles to finish the tie. This they did, but not without dropping the second game. By the third game, all other ties had finished and all eyes were on Court 1. While the crowd wasn’t huge, both spectators and teammates were very vocal as the Korean girls took it home in the decider 21-17.

Final to be on Centre Stage
Sunday’s final promises to be a completely different atmosphere since, for the first time in this tournament, only one court will be operating. That concentration of the crowd’s attention means that even with only a slight increase in the number of spectators, the Chinese, who have kept themselves motivated by cheering each other on, will have their hands, and their ears, full as they try to focus on what is going on on the court.

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net