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Qatar Open Review

Qatar Open Press Releases

ITTF Press Releases

Prestigious Match

The Olympic Champion against the World Champion – you could probably not find a more prestigious match than the quarter final in men’s singles at the Qatar Open between KONG Linghui and WANG Liqin, both China.

The youngest one of them, the World Champion WANG Liqin, started out best and it looked like KONG simply couldn’t follow WANG’s speed.

Slowly however KONG found his way into the game, succeeding in slowing down the rallies and vary the spin and the angles. KONG took the match and proved that he is still in there.

Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL) did the same. After beating SAMSONOV (BLR) in a cliff hanger in the previous round he overcame Tomasz KRZEZEWSKI (POL) in the quarters and Jean-Mi starts the new season where he ended the old one. In 2001 he was nr. 1 on the Pro Tour standings and he is on his way again. In Egypt he reached the final, here in Doha he has to beat KONG in the semis to go that far.

The other final is a matter between CHUAN Chi-Yuan (TPE) and MA Lin (CHN). CHUAN beat CHEUNG Yuk (HKG) and MA overcame the young German Timo BOLL, easily but not without drama.

MA Lin damaged his bat hitting the table and instead of changing racket he started to glue the damaged racket in the hall – against all rules.

“I decided not to file a protest. MA Lin was the best of the two of us today, so I did not want to have him disqualified. But I didn’t like what I saw, and I am very surprised that the referee allowed it”, says Timo BOLL.

In women’s singles the Chinese dominates. The only not Chinese player in the semi-finals is JING Jun Hong (SIN) who meets the World Champion WANG Nan. In the other semi-final LI Nan faces ZHANG Yining.

Defending Champion Ousted

Doha, Qatar, 6 March 2002. Zoran PRIMORAC (CRO) has won the men’s singles at the last three Qatar Opens, and he started to call it “my tournament”. It is not his tournament anymore! On Wednesday he missed out in men’s singles losing 4-2 to CHEUNG Yuk (HKG).

PRIMORAC has not been on the Pro Tour scene for a very long time, and that was to be seen in his match against the Hong Kong Chinese. The Croatian simply ran short against CHEUNG.

The round of the last 32 presented other upsets. Tomasz KRZEZEWSKI (POL) ousted LIU Guozheng (CHN) though the Chinese was leading 8-2 and 9-5 in the 7th game. Jan-Ove WALDNER (SWE) had to surrender – also in the 7th game – to Danny HEISTER (NED) and the young CHUAN Chi Yuan (TPE) was simply to fast for the former World Champion LIU Guoliang (CHN).

Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL) was close to losing as well but as so many times before he escaped from the trap of CHANG Xao (CHN). SAIVE took the 7th and decisive game 11-8.

In women’s singles all the favourites won, and the Chinese WANG Nan and ZHANG Yining are still favourites to take the first prize.


Another Go for the title

Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2002. KIM Hyon Hui and KIM Hyang Mi (PRK) are well known for their fighting spirit, and they showed it once more in the semi-final in women’s doubles at the Qatar Open.

At the Qatar Open last year they reached the final. In a thriller of a match against GUO Yan/WANG Nan (CHN) they did it again.

It was a very close match all the way. At 2-2 the two KIMs took a 9-3 lead but the umpire called a service fault on KIM Hyon Hui and after a long discussion the North Korean’s rhythm was broken - the Chinese caught them at 10-10.

In some way KIM and KIM got their acts together and they took the game.

Leading 3-2 they also had 8-5 in the 6th but then they tried to play safe and you don’t get away with that against WANG and GUO who evened to 3-3.

In the 7th it was even all the way till 9-9 with GUO Yan serving. The North Koreans got the first match point, but KIM Hyon Hui returned GUO’s service in the net. Another North Korean match point at 11-10 and that was it. A good forehand top spin finished the match and the North Koreans have the chance for another title.

The Escapist

Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2002. Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL) did it again! Like so many times before he was only hanging in there with his fingernails in the match against Vladimir SAMSONOV (BLR). SAMSONOV had the lead 3-2 and 9-3 in the 6th.

SAIVE however just kept his head down and continued, came to 5-9, then he had a few lucky points and from 7-10 he went to 10-10 to take the game.

In the 7th game SAIVE came out with some brilliant shots and he went to 5-0 and 8-2. Now it was his time though to hesitate. SAMSONOV almost caught him going to 7-8, but SAIVE recovered and took it home and advance to the quarter finals.

SAIVE once again survived because of his fighting spirit. When he is out on the edge and everybody thinks he is losing, then he plays his best and he sneaks in on his opponent.

Tomasz KRZEZEWSKI (POL) created another major upset by beating OH Sang Eun (KOR). KRZEZEWSKI walked into the World Top winning the Dutch Open last year, and since then he has stayed there performing very well.

Ryu Ousted

Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2002. The first favourite in women’s singles fell when RYU Ji Hye (KOR) lost to JING Jun Hong (SIN) in the round of the last 16.

RYU was seeded nr. 3 at the Qatar Open and she actually won two Pro Tour titles last year. Against JING Jun Hong however she was in trouble all the way.

JING had two match points already when she was leading 3-1 and 10-8 but RYU is a master of surviving and she took it to the 6th game. Then eventually it was over. JING Jun Hong simply beat RYU with her own “medicine” – a fast game close to the table and really aggressive blocking.

Out of the last 8 players in women’s singles 5 of them are Chinese. At least two of them will disappear after the quarter finals since WANG Nan is playing NIU Jianfeng and GUO Yan faces ZHANG Yining.

Germans broke Chinese code

Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2002. The two young Germans Timo BOLL and Zoltan FEJER-KONNERT seem to have broken the “Chinese code”. In men’s doubles at the Grand Finals in January they ousted the World Champions WANG Liqin and YAN Sen – on Thursday at the Qatar Open they overcame the former World Champions KONG Linghui and LIU Guoliang.

The Germans were on top of the match all the way, but they almost lost it anyway. They had two match points already leading 3-1 but they couldn’t take the last point and the Chinese took it to the last deciding game.

In the 7th the Germans were leading all the way but only with 1 or 2 points. They came to 10-8 once more, KONG made it 10-9 with a good back hand service, but then BOLL decided the matter with a good back hand.

In the semis WANG Liqin and YAN Sen are waiting to get their revenge from the defeat at the Grand Finals.

CHIANG Peng-Lung/CHAN Yen-Shu (TPE) – seeded nr. 3 – did not have any chance against the Egypt Open Champions LI Ling/KO Lai Chak (HKG). The Hong Kong Chinese won 3-0 and will face KIM Taek Soo/OH Sang Eun (KOR) in the semi-finals.

Defending Champion Ousted

Doha, Qatar, 6 March 2002. Zoran PRIMORAC (CRO) has won the men’s singles at the last three Qatar Opens, and he started to call it “my tournament”. It is not his tournament anymore! On Wednesday he missed out in men’s singles losing 4-2 to CHEUNG Yuk (HKG).

PRIMORAC has not been on the Pro Tour scene for a very long time, and that was to be seen in his match against the Hong Kong Chinese. The Croatian simply ran short against CHEUNG.

The round of the last 32 presented other upsets. Tomasz KRZEZEWSKI (POL) ousted LIU Guozheng (CHN) though the Chinese was leading 8-2 and 9-5 in the 7th game. Jan-Ove WALDNER (SWE) had to surrender – also in the 7th game – to Danny HEISTER (NED) and the young CHUAN Chi Yuan (TPE) was simply to fast for the former World Champion LIU Guoliang (CHN).

Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL) was close to losing as well but as so many times before he escaped from the trap of CHANG Xao (CHN). SAIVE took the 7th and decisive game 11-8.

In women’s singles all the favourites won, and the Chinese WANG Nan and ZHANG Yining are still favourites to take the first prize.


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