Polish Open: Top seeds out on top

Polish Open Review

ITTF Press Releases

Badescu to a new level

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. Otilia BADESCU (ROM) is a player of very good European standard, but often she comes up short when she is facing the best Asians. On Saturday she changed that “habit” beating Aya UMEMURA (JPN) to advance to the quarter finals in Women’s Singles.

UMEMURA has won 2 Pro Tour events this year and she is already certain to go to the Grand Finals in Stockholm. In Poland however she is out. She had problems already on Friday against Tatyana LOGATZKAYA (BLR) and against BADESCU there was nothing to do.
BADESCU was waiting for the Japanese to open attacks and then the Romanian was controlling the game with her blocking. She forced UMEMURA to make mistakes and took the victory 4-2.

The quarter finals will be “Romania vs the Chinese” BADESCU’s compatriot Mihaela STEFF was the only other European who survived beating CAO Xingni (CHN). Second seed Tamara BOROS (CRO) lost to ZHANG Rui (HKG) and RYU Jie Hae (KOR) lost to the young Chinese Guo Yue.

Polish party not over yet

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. The two Polish heroes Lucjan BLASZCZYK and Tomasz KRZEZEWSKI both disappointingly lost in the Men’s Singles, but in the Men’s Doubles they are still alive – playing the semi-finals on Saturday evening against the top seeded pair MA Lin /KONG Linghui (CHN)

In the quarter finals the home crowd saw the Polish pair struggling a bit against a pair created for the occasion, Werner SCHLAGER (AUT) and young Dane Michael MAZE.
SCHLAGER and MAZE never played together before, but with MAZE being a lefthander they have adapted to each other very quickly. They also took the first game before the Polish woke up. BLASZCZYK/KRZEZEWSKI however went to 2-1 and from then they were in control. They took the match 4-2.

The European Champions Timo BOLL/Zoltan FEJER-KONNERTH (GER) needed a good result in Warsaw to qualify for the Grand Finals. They were close to get it. They had the lead 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 but the Chinese evened to 3-3 and in the 7th game they won 11-9.

In the semi-finals WANG and QIN will meet Danny HEISTER/Trinko KEEN (NED).

Wang Nan busy in politics

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. World Champion and nr. 1 on the World Ranking, WANG Nan (CHN) is also nr. 1 on the Pro Tour Standings in Women’s Singles. She is however not in Poland to defend her position – because she gave higher priorities to politics.

She is at the moment working as a delegate at the Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. WANG Nan for years has been a member of the communist party and as a famous World Champion – like anywhere else in the World – she has a good chance to make a career in politics. First step was being chosen as the congress delegate from her home province Liaoning Province.
WANG’s choice however will be expensive from a table tennis point of view. In spite of the fact that she is nr. 1 on the Pro Tour Standings she will not be eligible for the Grand Finals in Stockholm in December, since she is not playing in Poland and Denmark.

She will be a “victim” of the rule saying that to qualify, players have to participate in either 6 Pro Tour event or in Pro Tour events on 3 different continents. WANG has only played 3 events, and she has only been on 2 continents.

Title is no guarantee

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. The World Cup title is no guarantee for success, especially when you play against a compatriot and doubles partner who knows you well. World Cup winner Timo BOLL (GER) was on the edge of losing to his doubles partner Zoltan FEJER-KONNERTH but he kept hanging in there and he won the 7th game 13-11.

Everything was “normal” in the 1st game with BOLL winning easily. Then BOLL seemed to slow down, and FEJER-KONNERTH found his rhythm. He took the lead 2-1 and 3-2.
BOLL however evened to 3-3, and in the 7th game the World Cup title holder seemed on his way to victory when he took the lead 10-6. When FEJER-KONNERTH needed it most he played some beautiful rallies and he caught BOLL at 10-10. He even had a match point at 11-10 but BOLL survived and took the next two points to win the match.

“Zoltan has won against me before – he knows me and today he played very well. When I had 10-6 he played some excellent points but luckily I survived”, says Timo BOLL who in the next round will meet Russian Aleksei SMIRNOV.

Goodbye Romania

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. The two Romanian players left in Women’s Singles both lost, and now the semi-finals are all Chinese with 3 players from mainland China and 1 from Hong Kong.

Otilia BADESCU (ROM) who beat Aya UMEMURA (JPN) earlier on Saturday made another good performance against LIN Ling and she fought herself out of troubles several times.
At the end however the Romanian found unnecessary troubles in the 6th game at 2-3 when she gave away a 10-6 lead. LIN Ling caught her at 10-10 and the game became a marathon ending with an 18-16 victory to LIN Ling.

In the semi-final on Sunday morning LIN Ling meets top seed ZHANG Yining (CHN).

Mihaela STEFF lost 4-0 to Chinese GUO Yan, but it was quite close. STEFF lost 3 of the games with only two points and in two games it was 10-10. The Romanian however could not take the important points.

GUO Yan will face compatriot GUO Yue in the semi-finals.

Top seeds out on top

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. The Men’s Singles event at the Polish Open has presented a lot of surprises, but at the end the very best came through anyway.
Chinese KONG Linghui and QIN Zhijian lost in the early rounds and unknown Fedor KUZMIN (RUS) made his way through to the quarter finals.

However when the semi-finals are played on Sunday morning the 4 top seeds will be there.
The 19 years old Fedor KUZMIN (RUS) has had a great time in Warsaw. First he sensationally beat the Olympic Champion KONG Linghui (CHN) then he overcame young upcoming Dane Michael MAZE. In the quarters his winning streak ended when he lost 4-3 to Werner SCHLAGER (AUT).

The young Russian however once more made you wonder why he is living a quiet life as a player in the 3rd German Bundesliga. He took SCHLAGER all the way to 9-9 in the 7th before he had to surrender.

“I tried to play short to SCHLAGER to avoid to get into longer rallies with him, however I think at the end you could see that SCHLAGER is used to matches like this – and I am not”, says KUZMIN who is hoping for a new and better contract for the coming year.

For sure his performance in Warsaw will make him take a big step forward on the World Ranking from his current position as nr. 163.

Nr. 1 in the World MA Lin (CHN) had unexpected difficulties against his young compatriot TANG Peng. MA Lin went to 3-1, but TANG kept hanging in there and he evened to 3-3. In the 7th however there was no doubt, MA Lin was the best.

BOLL was also the best in his quarter final, but his opponent Alexei SMIRNOV (RUS) proved once more that he has improved a lot in 2002. In spite of his loss to BOLL, the Russian now has a good chance to qualify for the Grand Finals – with the points earned in Warsaw.

Danny HEISTER (NED) gave World Champion WANG Liqin (CHN) a good fight but never really came close. He lost 2-4.

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