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TAN JOE HOK TAKES DETROIT
Nick Thimmesch
April 13, 1959
Triumphing over aches and ills, an Indonesian youngster becomes U.S. badminton champion
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April 13, 1959

Tan Joe Hok Takes Detroit

Triumphing over aches and ills, an Indonesian youngster becomes U.S. badminton champion

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Whatever ailed Tan Joe Hok, his game didn't suffer. In opening play he whomped Detroit's Fred Trifonoff 15-3 and 15-2, and then he dazzled and defeated sixth-seeded Ted Moehlmann of St. Louis. After a postponement granted because of his flu, Hok disposed of third-seeded Don Davis of Seattle.

THE NAME MEANS LUCK

In each game, he drew oohs and aahhs from the crowd when he executed his soft returns which toppled over the net, end over end, making it impossible for his opponent to return the bird. This maneuver, his power shots, his backhand returns and his wonderful change-of-pace made him much the superior. The exhibition demonstrated why Tan Joe Hok (whose family name means luck) is considered the world's best singles player now that the errant Dane, Finn Kobbero, is inactive because of suspension. Hok holds the Indian, the all-England open, the Indonesian, Asian and Canadian titles. Hok was also the key man in Indonesia's capture of the Thomas Cup last summer.

Wherever the visitors went, they were treated like so many visiting princes. Instead of putting up in downtown hotels, the Asians were guests in some of Grosse Pointe's finest homes where hosts saw to it that plenty of kettled rice was cooked just right. Tan Joe Hok was rhapsodic when he learned his host offered lemon juice, Chinese rice and pork sausage for breakfast.

By Friday night Hok and his world circuit colleagues were dominating all events they had entered. Only Teh Kew San, who lost to Poole, the U.S. champion, had not made the quarterfinals, and Poole was later defeated by Wattanasin in two exciting games, 15-7, 18-13. Lim Say Hup and Teh Kew San, who hold four world's doubles titles, reached the finals in their specialty and dispatched the American finalists, FBI Man Joe Alston and Schoolteacher Wynn Rogers, 15-5 and 15-3.

By any measure of sports performance, the singles finals between Hok and Wattanasin was sheer excitement. (Americans were absent for the first time in the history of the Open Amateur championships.) Hok, favored to win, had beaten Wattanasin five times previously, but lost the opener of the final match 15-7. But with growing confidence and composure he won the second game 15-5. Even those in the crowd who had come out of the mildest curiosity, leaned forward anxiously. In a burst of energy that showed no evidence of Scottish rheum or Detroit flu, Hok chased Wattanasin all over the court and won the championship 18-14. "Everyone is nice to me," Tan Joe Hok said. "I am feeling homely."

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