CHINA, DENMARK GROUP CHAMPIONS 

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By FROM SANJAY SHARMA
  • Published 15.05.00
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Kuala Lumpur, May 15 :     Denmark and China topped their respective Uber Cup pools as group matches came to an end at the Putra Stadium here today. China demolished Korea 5-0, while Denmark also took an unassailable 3-0 lead against former champions Japan. The Europeans thus avoided meeting China in the semi-finals, setting up a clash with Korea. They also raised visions of reaching the final for the first time since 1960 when they lost the battle against the US. China will meet Indonesia in the semis. The Danish challenge was led by world No. 1 Camilla Martin who took a mere 17 minutes to breeze past Asian Games champion Yasuko Mizui, 11-3, 11-1. "These have been my best performances in the last couple of months. The whole team has worked really hard for more than a month and we are really charged up for the Uber Cup. Even a place in the final is something we all want to achieve," said Camilla with candour. Denmark's second victory came in doubles when Rikke Olsen and Helen Kirkegaard beat Yoshika Iwata and Haruko Matsuda. Mette Sorensen then continued her great run with a 11-3, 11-1 demolition of Ida Takako. China, looking good for their seventh title, took just 56 minutes to pocket the first three singles. World No. 2 Gong Zhi Chao trounced Si Jin Sun 11-3, 11-7 even as Chinese chose to rest two-time world champion Ye Zhaoying. "My girls don't need any one to look after them. They will retain the title without much of a fuss. We are too strong and have done enough hard work to see that they are not challenged," said coach Li Yong Bo with conviction. India face Korea After a day's rest, India will take on Korea tomorrow following their satisfactory performance against the hosts. Malaysia are in deep trouble, needing to beat Denmark for a semi-final berth since Korea have already qualified from the group. "We could have got the better of the Malaysians had we been a bit more lucky yesterday," said India captain Pulella Gopichand. "I feel I missed out narrowly while (Nikhil) Kanetkar also played really well. We have some really strong players right now and if the association works out a scheme for doubles players, India would be the team to watch in two years," said Gopichand. India's chances against Korea will revolve around Gopichand and Siddarth Jain in singles. One only hopes the Indian coach will give national junior champion Chetan Anand a chance.