Fri, May 05, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Netherlands beat Taiwan at Tokyo badminton final

AFP , TOKYO

World number one Zhang Ning led defending champions China to a 3-0 win over Germany yesterday to rekindle her rivalry against Mia Audina Tjptawan of the Netherlands in the Uber Cup final.

Athens Olympic champion Zhang shrugged off a slow start to beat European champion Xu Huaiwen 21-17, 21-14 in the opening singles rubber in 33 minutes.

World champion Xie put China two up by breezing past Juliane Schenk 21-17, 21-16, while the world number two duo Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen downed Michaela Peiffer and Sandra Marinello 21-9, 21-4 to finish off the best-of-five contest.

The Netherlands defeated Taiwan 3-0, with Audina beating Cheng Shao-chieh 21-19, 21-17, Judith Meulendiks beating Chien Yu-chin 22-20, 21-17, and Katrina de Wit beating Pai Min-jie 21-16, 14-21, 21-15.

China's head coach, Li Yongbo, was upbeat ahead of tomorrow's clash.

"When I saw Zhang Ning and Xie Xingfang, I know they were under pressure, but I'm sure they will show their real potential in the final."

"In the doubles, Germany couldn't cope with Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen, who didn't need to perform their best today. With these four players, who can beat us?"

Zhang said Audina is a "special rival" since Zhang lost to Audina in the fifth singles match of the 1994 Uber Cup final at Jakarta, where Audina brought her mother country Indonesia's second victory.

Audina said she was relieved that her team defeated Taiwan 3-0 and that she did not need to play a doubles, since she had a bad cold last week.

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