ITTF Pro Tour Finals: Guo is Runner-Up
ITTF Pro Tour Finals Review
Saturday, December 14, 2002
ITTF Press Releases
The future is here
Stockholm, Sweden, 14 December. Two youngsters gave the Swedish crowd a table tennis experience they will not forget – in the semi-final of the Men’s Singles 21 year old CHUAN Chi-Yuan (TPE) beat Chinese WANG Hao, 19, in a match which had everything.
Good services and good returns but first of all topspin rallies faster than ever. This was the future of table tennis – and both CHUAN and WANG will certainly be part of it also after Stockholm.
CHUAN lost to WANG Hao in the final of the Dutch Open in October, but apparently he learnt from the defeat. CHUAN played with extremely high risk, hitting the ball very early and preventing WANG Hao from controlling the game.
CHUAN went to 3-1 and had good opportunities to win the 5th game as well. WANG however recovered and evened to 3-3.
CHUAN also had the lead in the 7th, but WANG Hao hang in there. He came as close as 8-9, but CHUAN was determined not to let the victory slip away once more. He won 11-8 to go to the final.
CHUAN has been in 3 Pro Tour finals this year but he lost them all. He seems however to gain in experience, so the Grand Finals might be the time for him.
Boll missed the chance
Stockholm, Sweden, 14 December 2002. German top star Timo BOLL had a good chance to leave 2002 as a World Cup winner and winner of the Grand Finals. He missed it – in the semi-finals in Men’s Singles he was ousted by Greek Kalinikos KREANGA
KREANGA started out as a Champion. In the first 3 games the Greek left BOLL stunned and defenceless against his fierce top spin attacks.
The Greek for sure is the most spectacular player at the moment. He plays with very high risk and when he succeeds, like he did in the first 3 games, he is a very tough opponent.
The 4th game was close, but KREANGA looked like a winner when he got his first match point at 10-9. He had one more chance, but BOLL survived and took the game.
Suddenly everything changed. BOLL kept himself a little bit back and waited for KREANGA to make the mistakes, which he did.
BOLL evened to 3-3 and KREANGA did not look like a winner anymore. In some way however the Greek recovered. He took a big lead in the 7th, and he kept it home winning the last game and the match 11-4.
“In the 4th game I started to hesitate a little and unfortunately BOLL saw the opportunity to get back into the match”, says KREANGA and continues:
“I have to play a little bit differently against a lefthander like BOLL. The “problem” is that I am very good with my backhand, but when I play it across the table it ends up in BOLL very strong forehand. However first of all I did not play well in those 3 games. Fortunately I could recover at the end”.
One more record for Guo
Stockholm, Sweden, 14 December 2002. 14 year old GUO Yue (CHN) broke another record when she on Saturday became the youngest player ever to reach the final at the Pro Tour Grand Finals
In the semi-finals GUO ousted compatriot NIU Jianfeng. GUO has grown several inches since she took her first Pro Tour title in Women’s Doubles at the Austrian Open, but as a player she has grown even more.
NIU could follow her to 1-1 but after a crucial 3rd game which GUO won 15-13, the youngster was on top. She took the next game 11-2, and though NIU resisted taking one more game, the match all the time seemed to end in the favour of GUO.
In the final GUO will meet World’s nr. 2, ZHANG Yining who beat another Chinese, GUO Yan 4-1.
Zhang put Guo in place
Stockholm, Sweden, 14 December 2002. GUO Yue couldn’t take the last step in the Women’s Singles final at the Pro Tour Grand Finals. She was the youngest finalist ever but she couldn’t make herself the youngest winner - yet.
She lost 4-1 to compatriot ZHANG Yining, and though GUO has the potential to become a champion there is still some steps to be made before she can match ZHANG.
ZHANG took the lead 2-0 before she “gave away” a little to GUO. The teenager won the next game but that was it.
However for each time the two compatriots meet GUO has moved a little bit closer.
“That is true, in the future she will be very tough to beat, she has great potential and she is improving constantly”, says the Grand Finals winner ZHANG Yining.
With the victory ZHANG also overtook WANG Nan on the top of the World Ranking – but according to ZHANG only because WANG Nan has not played that much.
“She is still the best in the World. If I will say anything to her when I come home? No, no – but she might have something to say”, says ZHANG who can look back at an excellent 2002. She has won 3 Pro Tour titles, the World Cup and the Grand Finals.
New pair in the final
Stockholm, Sweden, 14 December 2002. Toshio TASAKI and Akira KITO (JPN) have only played together as a doubles pair for a few months – now they are in the most prestigious finals of them all – playing for the 1st prize at the Grand Finals on Sunday.
TASAKI for many years played together with Seiko ISEKI, but ISEKI has been injured and he is not playing internationally anymore. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Toshio TASAKI. He has always been well known as a good doubles player (for a few years he formed a winning pair in the German Bundesliga together with former World Champion Jorg ROSSKOPF) and for sure young Akira KITO has no complaints either.
In the 1st round of the Men’s Doubles they created a major upset beating 2nd seeded Hong Kong pair LI Ching/KO Lai Chak. In the semi-finals they ousted another Hong Kong pair, CHEUNG Yuk/LEUNG Chu Yan.
The match was close but all the time with the Japanese one step ahead. They form a classic doubles pair with the lefthander Akira KITO, and that leaves good space for the hard hitting Toshio TASAKI.
In the final the Japanese will meet top seeds MA Lin/KONG Linghui (CHN) who ousted compatriots WANG Liqin/QIN Zhijian.
QIN and WANG steamrolled their opponents 11-2 in the 1st game, but after that nothing worked for them and KONG and MA solidly took over and won 4-1.
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