ITTF Pro Tour Finals: 14 yr-old in Semis
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Every victory is a record
Stockholm, Sweden, 13 December 2002. 14 year old Chinese GUO Yue practically writes history every time she goes to the table. First she became the youngest Pro Tour title holder ever, when she won the Women’s Doubles at the Austrian Open, then she became the youngest Pro Tour finalist ever at the Farum Danish Open.
This week she is the youngest player at the Grand Finals ever and on Friday she qualified for the semi-finals – of course as the youngest player ever.
From GUO’s 3-2 lead the 6th game was very close, but GUO proved to have enough experience to stay calm. She won 12-10 to take the match 4-2. The semi-finals in Women’s Singles will be an all Chinese matter. 1st seed ZHANG Yining, who beat LIN Ling (HKG) will face compatriot GUO Yan. GUO had to go all the way to the end of the 7th game against LI Jia Wei (SIN). GUO won the last game 12-10. In the other semi-final GUO Yue meets NIU Jianfeng who overcame the last European, Nicole STRUSE (GER).
Stockholm, Sweden, 13 December 2002. The only European pair directly qualified for the Men’s Doubles, Werner SCHLAGER/Karl JINDRAK (AUT) did not survive the first round. In a very close match they lost 4-2 to the Hong Kong pair CHEUNG Yuk/LEUNG Chu Yan.
The Austrians took the first game but after that the Hong Kong pair had the lead all the way – 2-1 and 3-2.
There was another European pair, Peter KARLSSON/Fredrik HAKANSSON, invited because the Swedish host association has the right to be represented.
They played quite well against MA Lin/KONG Linghui (CHN) but they never came really close. The Chinese won 4-0.
Learning the hard way
Stockholm, Sweden, 13 December 2002. Young CHUAN Chih-Yuan (TPE) for a few years has been the “lonely rider” on the Pro Tour – playing almost all events, travelling on his own and without a coach. In the beginning he reached the round of the last 16 on a good day, but he just kept his head down and entered another Pro Tour event. Now he is collecting the rewards.
During the last year the 21 year old CHUAN has made immense progress – at the table and on the World Ranking. 2 years ago he was nr. 38, 1 year ago nr. 23.
CHUAN lost to SAIVE when he reached his first Pro Tour final in Qatar this spring, but he seemed to have learnt from the defeat to the Belgian. This time he kept up the speed and tried to avoid the longer rallies where SAIVE is at his best.
CHUAN took the lead 3-1 and he also had a big lead in the 5th. SAIVE however escaped like he often does. He won the game – to go into new troubles in the 6th. Here as well SAIVE recovered and he caught CHUAN at 10-10. This time however CHUAN kept calm and he won the match taking the game 13-11.
Another youngster, WANG Hao (CHN) is also on the move. He beat compatriot and nr. 1 on the World Ranking, MA Lin, in a spectacular match which went right to the end of the 7th game.
With MA Lin’s defeat, nr. 2 on the World Ranking, Timo BOLL (GER) got the chance to close the ranking gap to MA and the German took at least one more step than MA.
Timo BOLL beat World Champion WANG Liqin (CHN) for the second time in two months (last time was at the Men’s World Cup).
BOLL seemed to be in trouble against WANG. On top of being down 3-2 the Germand also had a muscle injury in the leg which needed treatment before he could return to play the 6th game.
The massage however did him good, he actually played better than before, evened to 3-3 and took the victory in a thrilling 7th game.
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