Polish Open: Ma Lin wins Men's Final

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Guo Yue will have to wait

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. Though GUO Yue (CHN) is only 14 she already has won her first Pro Tour title – in doubles. A title in singles for sure will come as well, but she will have to wait a little bit more.
In the semi-finals at the Polish Open she lost to compatriot GUO Yan in spite of the fact that she had a 3-0 lead.

GUO Yue started out like she owned the table, but slowly GUO Yan played better and better and she evened to 3-3.
In the 7th GUO Yue also had the lead, and she had a match point at 10-9. She couldn’t take it however and instead GUO Yan won the game and the match 13-11.

In the other semi-final LIN Ling (HKG) had no chance against Chinese ZHANG Yining. ZHANG took control immediately and she kept LIN totally out of the match. ZHANG won 4-0.

Schlager beat World Champion

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. Werner SCHLAGER (AUT) seems to know how to play World Champion WANG Liqin (CHN). At the World Cup last year SCHLAGER had several match points against WANG, but the Austrian lost.
Again in the Men’s Singles semi-final in Warsaw SCHLAGER was pushing the World Champion to the edge, and again it looked like he would loose.

From 2-2 WANG took control. He went to 3-2 and in the 6th game SCHLAGER started out badly, losing many points in his own service. The Austrian however in some way recovered and evened to 3-3.
In the 7th it was even all the way to 8-8. Then WANG took two points in his own service to go to 10-8. SCHLAGER however did the same to even.

The decision came when WANG was missing his own service to give SCHLAGER his first match point. SCHLAGER took it to win 12-10 and go to the final.

“WANG saw that I moved to attack his service with my forehand and he wanted to make it short – he made it too short. A service mistake is always welcome, but of course at 10-10 it is even more welcome”, says a smiling SCHLAGER.

“Yes, last years World Cup match was in my mind, but the difference was that this time luckily I took my first match point”.

Young German Timo BOLL did not at all look like a World Cup winner in the other semi-final in Men’s Singles. Against MA Lin he could not live up to the standard he showed at the World Cup in China few weeks ago.

The first 3 games was a table tennis lesson, and BOLL was the pupil. The German had difficulties with returning MA’s service – and then you don’t have a chance. Ma’s forehand was just killing everything.

Finally in the 4th game, BOLL got on the road, and he had two match points at 10-8. MA however evened to 10-10, but after one more try, BOLL took the game.

In the 5th game MA was back on top. The game was more even, but still BOLL did not come close.

The final between MA Lin and Werner SCHLAGER will be played on Sunday afternoon.

Poland got a title

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. The Polish got one title at the Polish Open – in Men’s Singles Under 21 Jakub KOSOWSKI made his way through to the final, and against Aleksandr DIDUKH (UKR) he never left any doubt. The title was supposed to stay in Poland.

KOSOWSKI took the lead 3-0 and though every game was close, the Polish came out on top with a 4-1 victory winning the last game 11-9.
Also the title in Women’s Singles Under 21 stays in Europe. Georgina POTA (HUN) won the women’s final against XU Yan (SIN). XU took the first game, but that was all. POTA took a step forward and won 4 games in a row.

Doubles all Chinese

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. The doubles finals at the Polish Open were a “Chinese party” but especially the two Men’s Doubles pairs showed excellent table tennis.
WANG Liqin and QIN Zhijian were actually in trouble in both quarter final and semi-final but in the final against top seeds the World nr. 1 MA Lin and Olympic Champion KONG Linghui they were on top all the way.

They took the lead 2-1 and from 2-2 they went to 3-2. In the 6th game WANG and QIN had the first match point at 10-9. They did not get it, but with the second chance at 11-10 they won the game and the match.
In Women’s Doubles experience won. ZHANG Yining and LI Nan took the title beating 14 year old GUO Yue and partner LI Xiaoxia.

Another title to Zhang

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. GUO Yan (CHN) lost the Women’s Singles Final but she earned herself a ticket to the Pro Tour Grand Finals in Stockholm, Sweden in December.

With the 5.000 points earned in Warsaw she is almost certainly qualified for Stockholm, and since she is also entered at the Farum Danish Open next week, she can still earn e few more points to remove any doubt.
GUO Yan took the lead 3-0 before ZHANG Yining woke up – GUO even won the 3rd game 11-2 and everything seemed to go her way.

ZHANG however is still nr. 2 in the World and in the following games she used her extra gear to play with a speed that GUO could not follow. ZHANG evened to 3-3.

In the 7th however GUO had got used to the speed and ZHANG made more mistakes. They went together to 8-8 before GUO got herself two match points at 10-8. ZHANG survived the first one with an edge ball and the second with a good 3rd ball attack. That took out the air of GUO. ZHANG took the next two points to win the title.

Ma was best – and lucky

Warsaw, Poland, 16 November 2002. Werner SCHLAGER (AUT) sensationally beat the World Champion WANG Liqin (CHN) in the semi-finals in Men’s Singles but the current nr. 1 on the World Ranking he could not overcome.

In the final SCHLAGER lost to MA Lin (CHN) – but only after a good fight. SCHLAGER lost 4-0 but all games were close, and in this final the luck was on MA’s side – with a few edge balls and lucky points.
F. ex. in the 3rd game SCHLAGER had a game point, but lost it, and then MA took the game with – one more - edge ball.

That doesn’t change the fact however that MA was the best player in the final. He was moving fast to use his forehand top spin and SCHLAGER could never really control the game.

In the 4th game SCHLAGER took the lead 8-5. Then he missed a high ball, and with two excellent services from MA Lin the game was back to square, 8-8. At 10-9 MA Lin won his first match point to take the Polish title and 15.000 US Dollars.

With the victory MA also takes the 1st place on the Pro Tour Standings away from SCHLAGER before the last Pro Tour in 2002, Farum Danish Open.

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