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German Open: Time Up For Timo

German Open Review

ITTF Press Releases

Defensive test

Magdeburg, Germany, 19 October 2002. Russia and China have over the years produced some of the best female defensive players in the world; at the German Open in round two of the womenís doubles Russia met China with the four players on duty being defensive players of the very highest quality.

In a match where long rallies were the order of the day, the younger pairing emerged successful as FAN Ying and WANG Tingting of China overcame the Russians Irina PALINA and Svetlana GANINA in six games.
`We had never played them before, we were not used them at the start of the match, we were impatient and we made mistakes,í explains FAN Ying. `The Russians are very good defensive players and it was a tough match; I think we won because we could attack better,í she concludes.

Undoubtedly, the ability of FAN Yang, in particular, to topspin with her forehand in the mode of the Chinese male defenders gave the Chinese pairing the edge as the recovered from a two games to one deficit to emerge victorious.

The successful duo now meet compatriots NIU Jianfeng and LI Jia in the semi-finals whilst in the top half of the draw Chinese fourteen year olds GUO Yue and LI Xiaoxia meet the Austrians LIU Jia and Judit HERCZIG.



One Match At A Time

Magdeburg, Germany, 19 October 2002. The age old adage `We are taking it one match at a time,í is the politically correct answer that you will receive from coaches and managers when asked if their player or team can win the title, even when they know they are clear favourites or it would take an earthquake to halt their progress.

However, in the case of Timo BOLL, it is the only way forward at the German Open; BOLL, suffering some discomfort but no major ill effects from his elbow injury suffered one day earlier against Chinaís YAN Sen, recovered from an opening game deficit to emerge successful in his menís singles third round match against Polandís Lucjan BLASZCZYK.
Somewhat tentative at the start of the contest, BOLL grew in stature as the Magdeburg crowd cheered their man to victory; certainly, they were relieved to see the German hero on court and in good form, the question now is whether there will be any reaction to the injury after the contest. However, coach Istvan Korpa was quietly confident: `Itís much better than last night and Iím pleased with how he played; we can only wait and see if there is any reaction; all we can do is take on match at a timeí.

BOLL now meets Kalin KREANGA of Greece who beat crowd favourite JŲrgen PERSSON by the narrowest of margins, 12-10 in the decisive seventh game, after the Swede had held match point at 10-9. It was a match of the highest order with topspin rallies keeping the large Magdeburg crowd transfixed.




Knife Edge Wins For Tasaki & Saive

Magdeburg, Germany, 19 October 2002. Victory for a home based player is quite naturally greeted with applause, cheers and air horns but the biggest receptions of all so far at the German Open have been saved for a player from the other side of the world, Toshio TASAKI of Japan and a favourite from closer to home Jean-Michel SAIVE of Belgium.

Short pimples, using on side of the racket only, a style of play from a bygone era and one that brought Asian players so much success two decades ago; Toshio TASAKI seemingly covered every centimeter of the court as he tried to execute his favoured forehand in his contest with Chinaís LIU Guozheng. However, it was from the backhand side that TASAKI unleashed a drive that seared like an exocet missile wide to LIU Guozhengís backhand to win what was at the time the closest match of the tournament so far, 15-13 in the decisive seventh game. TASAKIís response was quite natural, fist in the air and a smile that would light up the streets of Tokyo on the darkest November night.
Still smiling, with beads of sweat dripping from his forehead, TASAKI explains: `I became more confident as the match progressed, I had to attack first, when you are playing players like LIU Guozheng you have to take your chances; I think today I served much better and that was crucial.í

TASAKI now meets Alexei SMIRNOV of Russia in the quarter-finals; the latter having recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Swedenís Fredrik HŇKANSSON in six games and thus repeated the success of one year ago when SMIRNOV ended the Swedes hopes in the opening round in Bayreuth. `I feel confident against him and I think my strong backhand helped; after the first two games I played faster to his backhand and that seemed to helpí, explains SMIRNOV.

Meanwhile, in the contest between Jean-Michel SAIVE and Damien ELOI it was seemingly a case of `Anything you can do we can do betterí, as the Belgian star gave a typical fighting display to beat Damien ELOI of France 19-17 in the seventh game, the match concluding in typical SAIVE style with the Belgian player on the ropes, returning with both backhand and forehand topspins as ELOI unleashed a barrage of attacking strokes. Eventually, an ELOI forehand went astray and the never-say-die SAIVE had emerged successful and a place in the quarter-finals against Villette Charleroi clubmate Vladimir SAMSONOV had been booked; the latter having beaten Michael MAZE in seven games.




Looking High, High, High

Magdeburg, Germany, 19 October 2002. The service rule has always been a topic of debate in table tennis; throughout the years the rules relating the service have been amended in order to give the server an advantage but not leave receiver having to use guesswork in order to effect a good return.

Recent changes to the rules have been made to enable the receiver to see the ball clearly throughout their opponentís serving action but if a rule was to be introduced whereby the service had to be thrown into outer space then Tamara BOROS of Croatia and Csilla BATORFI of Hungary would not doubt be setting records relating to the height a ball can be thrown in the service action.
On adjacent tables in round three of the womenís singles at the German Open, the two European stars used their high thrown forehand serves to great effect with BOROS overcoming LI Xiaoxia of China whilst BATORFI gave a typical fighting performance before falling to Singaporeís JING Jun Hong.

`Itís the first time Iíve played LI Xiaoxia,í explains BOROS, clearly pleased with her victory and the level at which played. `I didnít know what to expect but I think she had some problems with my service and I felt good throughout the match.í

Meanwhile, for BATORFI it was disappointment, losing a match in which the first player to attack with a forehand topspin usually won the point, a fact that the Hungarian concedes: `JING Jun Hong has a very good forehand and I missed too many blocks; the games I won I had a good tempo, the sixth game was close, it was a pity to lose but thatís sport.í

JING Jun Hong now plays BOROS for a place in the semi-final




Spirit, Intelligence and Concentration

Magdeburg, Germany, 19 October 2002. Itís always fun to be the coach when she playsí, extols Eva JELER following the very impressive performance by Jie SCH÷PP over Japanís Keiko OKAZAKI in the third round of the womenís singles at the German Open.
`Jie SCH÷PP has a splendid fighting spirit, she never gives upí, JELER continues. `She always tries to find solutions to difficult situations, she is always composed but always competitive, she is thinking all the time about the tactics she should employ; she has spirit, intelligence and good concentration, a model for younger players.í

A player who has no doubt benefited from being able to train alongside the vastly experienced Jie SCH÷PP is Elke WOSIK who maintained her good form of recent weeks to beat Ai FUJINUMA of Japan in a contest that went the full seven game distance.
The ability of WOSIK to topspin from both wings early in the exchanges proved vital and the German star was certainly pleased with her efforts. `Itís good to win in front of a German crowd, they helped me a great dealí, explains Elke WOSIK.

`Iíve been playing well in the German Bundesliga and Iím pleased I could maintain my form in Magdeburg, Iím just very happy, itís goodí, she concludes; giving a sigh that reflects deep satisfaction in her efforts and earns a pat on the back from her coach Richard PRAUSE who smiles with pride written over his face.

Both Jie SCH÷PP and Elke WOSIK now meet Chinese opposition in the quarter-finals with SCH÷PP playing second seed NIU Jianfeng and Elke WOSIK encountering the defensive skills of FAN Ying.




Itís All The Same To Me

Magdeburg, Germany, 19 October 2002. Fourteen year old GUO Yue of China reached the semi-final stage of the womenís singles event at the German Open beating the vastly experienced CHANG Gao Jun of the USA in seven hard fought games.

CHANG Gao Jun was a member of the Chinese national team when GUO Yue was a mere babe in arms and is a player who won gold medals in World Championships, enjoying outstanding success in womenís doubles events with Chen Zihe.
However, to GUO Yue, whilst she was well aware of her opponentís pedigree, it was another match, another opponent and there was a job to be done. `I knew of GAO Junís successes and she is still a fine player but for me it was just the same as playing anyone else; itís the first time Iíve beaten her, I played her earlier in the year in the China League and lost, so Iím pleased to have won.í

GUO Yue now plays top seed Tamara BOROS of Croatia; the only non Chinese player left in the womenís singles. BOROS was in devastating form, beating Singaporeís JING Jun Hong in four straight games with her topspin play from both wings the model of consistency.

Alas, for Elke WOSIK it was third time unlucky. She faced her third defender in the tournament, FAN Ying of China, having earlier beaten backspin players Petra DERMASTIJA of Slovenia and Viktoria PAVLOVICH of Belarus in the first two rounds. WOSIK appeared to be en route to complete the hat-trick but the Chinese teenager fought back from three games to nil in arrears and concluded proceedings with a lightning forehand topspin to clinch the contest.

FAN Ying now plays compatriot NIU Jianfeng, the latter ending the progress of Jie SCH÷PP in four straight games with the Chinese star most comfortable against the Germanís backspin style of play.



Time Up For Timo

Magdeburg, Germany, 19 October 2002. Timo BOLL exited the German Open at the quarter-final stage of the menís singles, losing in five games to the player he had beaten earlier in the year in the final of the menís singles at the European Championships in Zagreb, Kalinikos KREANGA of Greece.

BOLL was as ever a true sportsman and generous in defeat: `KREANGA played very well and I made mistakes when trying to block and create angles, my elbow caused me no problems; I wasnít fast enough today, for me to beat KREANGA I must be fast with both my strokes and with my footwork.í
Certainly, no-one can give KREANGA time to play, his powerful topspins make him an exciting player to watch and with BOLL not at his best, the Greek star was able to dominate proceedings. The injury to BOLL may well have contributed to his downfall but the German star offered no excuses: `I didnít lose because of the injury I suffered yesterday, I lost because he played better than me.í

KREANGA was as uncompromising as ever, unleashing a tirade of topspins from both wings which few would have been able to control. `It was easier receiving service this timeí, KREANGA explains. Certainly BOLL has made every effort to adjust to the new rules regarding the service and KREANGA could see the ball throughout the young Germanís action. `I didnít make as many mistakes returning his service as I did in Zagreb and I had more chances to attack when he was servingí, KREANGA adds.

Meanwhile, German coach Istvan KORPA was quite philosophical about the reverse. `His playing arm was not fast enough today, itís very important that he generates speed in his topspin strokes; also, he lacked control and made mistakes; he said his arm was not causing him any problems but you never know the psychological effect an injury has on a playerí.

In the semi-finals, KREANGA faces Vladimir SAMSONOV of Belarus, the conqueror of Jean-Michel SAIVE whilst in the other half of the draw top seed MA Lin faces Russiaís Alexei SMIRNOV, the latter defeating Japanís Toshio TASAKI at the quarter-final stage.



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