Japan Open: Success is sweeter at home
Japan Open Review
Saturday, September 14, 2002
ITTF Press Releases
Heavy burden for young Chinese
Kobe, Japan, 14 September 2002. She is just 17, and taking part of a Pro Tour tournament for the first time. We are talking about WANG Shen, the only Chinese woman left when it is time for the quarter finals in Kobe.
Until now, since the Pro Tour-started in 1996, there has always been a Chinese winner in the Womens Singles at the Japan Open. WANG Shen is trying to repeat what QIAN Hong, WANG Chen, LI Ju and WANG Nan have already done. It might be e heavy burden.
“As a Chinese you always feel kind of a pressure, but I think that is something you need to handle well”, Wang says after easily eliminating the Japanese Reiko HIURA. WANG Shen. She is not yet on the World Ranking, so she was a qualifier in Japan Open. “I was in the top four in our national junior championships this year, and I think that is why I was chosen for the national team”. WANG Shen started to play at the age of five, and since April this year she is a member of the national B-team training at the centre in Beijing. She is from the city of Shandong, one hour’s flight from Beijing.
“My parents took me to a table tennis hall, and since I started to like it I continued to play, WANG says. She likes to read, listen to music, and she has experience of playing soccer. Any favourite sports people? “David BECKHAM, and in table tennis WANG Liqin and Jan-Ove WALDNER”.
In the quarter finals WANG will face another Japanese, Ai FUJINUMA. Only two European players are left. Germany’ s Olga NEMES and top seeded Mihaela STEFF(ROM) challenge six Asians.
NEMES was very efficient with her counter attack game and made four in a row against Singapore’s World number 9 and 1st seeded LI Jia Wei.
Japanese ousted top pair
Lausanne, 8 September 2002. A European Singles final at a Pro Tour event in Asia – it doesn’t happen often but it will be the case in Men’s Singles at the Korea Open.
The two top seeds Werner SCHLAGER (AUT) and Timo BOLL (GER) both made their way through to the final.
Kobe, Japan, 14 September 2002. In front of an enthusiastic home crowd the hard hitting Japanese Toshio TASAKI paired with countryman Akira KITO managed to beat the top seeded Austrian pair Werner SCHLAGER/Karl JINDRAK after 7 tough games.
SCHLAGER/JINDRAK are, with their ten victories, the most successful pair on the Pro Tour until now.
“We have played them three or four times before, but until now we always lost”, TASAKI says.
TASAKI/KITO were down 2-3 but then they won the two remaining games by 11-4, 11-7. The Japanese pair will now face one of two remaining French pairs, Patrick CHILA/Cedrie CABESTANY, in the semi-final.
In the other half of the draw Damien ELOI/Christophe LEGOUT will meet Timo BOLL/Bastian STEGER (GER). Surprisingly they beat 2nd seed CHIANG Peng-Lung/CHANG Yen-Shu (TPE) 4-1.
Goodbye to Cioti
Kobe, 14 September 2002. The adventure of young Constantin CIOTI (ROM) in Men’s Singles at the Japan Open came to an end in the round of the last 16.
First he overcame top seed Werner SCHLAGER (AUT), then he beat German Bastian STEGER, but at the end he was ousted by another youngster, the upcoming Dane Michael MAZE. CIOTI took the lead 1-0, but it was soon clear that MAZE would come out on top. He won 4-2 and meets Zoran PRIMORAC (CRO) in the quarter finals.
Beside MAZE and unranked Chinese QIU Yuke the rest of the players qualified for the quarter finals are all “old” well known names.
2nd seed Timo BOLL is still having a quite easy time. He beat Hyogo KAYAMA (JPN) 4-0. Next obstacle might be more difficult. In the quarters BOL will face young fast moving CHUAN Chih-Yuan (TPE).
CHIANG Peng-Lung (TPE) will have to deal with the unknown QIU Yuke and Kalinikos KREANGA (GRE) meets 3rd seed Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL).
Ever heard of Qiu Yuke?
Kobe, Japan, 14 September 2002. He is not on the World Ranking but he just reached the semi-finals in the Men’s Singles at the Japan Open.
17 years old, playing in his first ever Pro Tour event. He reached the semi-finals after beating top star CHIANG Peng-Lung of Taipei 4-2.
“I am a little bit surprised myself after what has happened here in Japan, and I think I played a better than ever against CHIANG Peng-Lung”, QIU Yuke says.
“CHIANG Peng-Lung is not a new face to me since he plays in the Chinese league, like me, and even if I never played him I have seen him and could prepare in a good way. Even when I was down with a few points I still believed that I could win. I kept calm and took my chances”, says QIU Yuke, who was second among the juniors a few years ago.
CHIANG Peng-Lung was not the only of the top 4 seeded player to lose in the quarter finals. 2nd seeded German Timo BOLL lost to CHUAN Chih-Yuan of Taipei. It means that Kalinikos Kreanga of Greece, World’s nr 12, is now the highest ranked player left in the Men’s Singles.
KREANGA has been in one Pro Tour final, he reached the semi-finals a few times, but now he is eager to go all the way in a Pro Tour tournament.
The 30 year old player has a lot of experience and he is hard to beat. In the quarter finals on Saturday he quite easily took care of the Belgium fighter Jean-Michel SAIVE - and how Kreanga ended the match? He made the last point by a strong backhand after being under pressure all the way during a long rally.
All the spectators in the hall loved the way KREANGA played. KREANGA and SAIVE gave it all during the match and it was one of many exiting matches on Saturday afternoon.
“When I was 3-0 up I lost my concentration for a while, and SAIVE is a player who fights until the end”, says KREANGA who meets Zoran PRIMORAC (CRO) in the semi-finals.. player left in the Men’s Singles.
Success is sweeter at home
Kobe, Japan, 14 September 2002. Aya UMEMURA, 25, of Japan has already won twice at the Pro Tour but those titles are nothing compared to a possible success in front of her Japanese home crowd.
“I have won the Brazil Open the last two years but there were not so many strong players taking part”, she says.
After beating compatriot An KONISHI of Japan in the quarter finals on Saturday UMEMURA is prepared for the semi-final against Mihaela STEFF (ROM).
“I don’t know her that well - we never played each other before”.
UMEMURA is playing in the Japanese League, representing an insurance company, and she is the reigning Japanese Champion in singles.
UMEMURA was in trouble in her quarter final against An KONISHI who nearly turned the match around after being down 3-8 in the 4th game. KONISHI won it, then also the 5th to take the lead 3-2 looking for a victory.
“For me it was important to forget about my lead and loss in the 4 game, and try to concentrate again. I wanted to have longer rallies because I had the feeling that then I had a better chance to make points”, UMEMURA says.
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