China made a clean sweep of four semifinal berths in the women's singles event while Indonesia reserved two in the men's last four at the world badminton championships in Seville on Friday.
In the women's singles, world number 14 Dai Yun, who eliminated top seed Camilla Martin of Denmark on Thursday, had to depart because the semifinals can only accommodate four players.
The 24-year-old, beaten finalist in the Copenhagen world championships in 1999, wasted a 6-0 lead in the first game before losing to Olympic champion Gong Zhichao 22-9, 22-2 in an all-Chinese affair.
Second seed Zhou Mi took 29 minutes to rout world 15-ranked Mette Sorensen of Denmark 11-3, 11-2; veteran Zhang Ning fought back from one game down to oust Kanako Yonekura of Japan 9-11, 11- 1, 11-0; and the other place went to world number three Gong Ruina, who also took three sets to edge out Dutch player Mia Audina Tjiptawan 6-11, 11-8, 11-8.
"I played very patiently, " Gong said. "Even trailing by a game, I knew I still had the chance as long as I held on."
Gong Ruina, 20, who has not won a title in nearly two years since she won the Swedish Open in 1999, will vie for a final berth with Gong Zhichao while Zhou will take on Zhang for the other one.
China should have guarenteed the last four places in the women' s doubles if world number one Yang Wei/Huang Nanyan had won a three-game thriller against South Korea's Ra Kyung Min/Lee Kyung Won. But the Ra and Lee proved stronger in the last minute, winning 10-15, 17-15, 17-14.
The other three berths all went to Chinese players after Huang Sui/Gao Ling routed Mika Anjo/Chikako Nakayanma of Japan 15-4, 15- 5, Jiang Xuelian/Chen Lin toppled second seed Rikke Olsen/Helene Kirkegaard of Denmark 7-15, 15-3, 15-7 and Zhang Jiewen/Wei Yili defeated Deyana Lomban/Indarti Issolina 15-8, 15-8.
China, who bagged four out of five gold medals in Sydney Olympic Games, had mixed fortunes in the men's singles quarterfinals when world number four Chen Hong avenged his defeat in the All England final to India's Pulella Gopichand 15-10, 15-10 but Olympic bronze medalist Xia Xuanze was downed by Indonesia's veteran Hendrawan 15-7, 15-5.
Hendrawan, silver winner in the Sydney Olymics, will next face fellow Indonesian and world number three Taufik Hidayat, who saw off South Korea's Lee Hyun Ii 15-12, 4-15, 15-5 in another match.
Former world number one Peter Gade of Denmark also advanced to the semifinals after beating giant killer Agus Hariyanto of Hong Kong, China, setting up a showdown with Chen, whom he defeated in the Sudirman Cup semifinals last week.
The Dane scored a straight-set victory 15-4, 15-8 in 30 minutes to eliminate the unseeded Hariyanto, who had beaten Olympic champion Ji Xinpeng of China and world number seven Marleve Mainaky of Indonesia en route to the quarterfinal match.
"I had expected this could be a difficult match," the Dane said. "But from the beginning, I put a lot of pressure on him and made him difficult to score points."
"I expected him (Chen) to beat Gopichand today, as he's in much better for at the moment. The Indian has won just one tournament + the All England + but Chen has won more tournaments, like in the recent Asian Cup.
"Tomorrow's another match, and I think it will be a good one + a quick game at the net with some fast rallies. I hope I have some mental advantage over Chen because I beat last week. I'm really looking forward to it."
(China Daily 06/09/2001)