Croatian Open: Day 1

Croation Open Review

ITTF Press Releases

Bad start for Chuan

Zagreb, Croatia, January 24 2003. The winner of the Grand Finals in December CHUAN Chih Yuan (TPE) lost his first Pro Tour match in 2003 – however not in singles but in doubles together with compatriot CHIANG Peng-Lung.

CHUAN and CHIANG Peng-Lung started out well in the first game of the match against Slovenians Bojan TOKIC and Gregor KOMAC but they seemed to forget that a good start is not enough. As the match proceeded they started to make more mistakes – and at the other end of the table the Slovenians played well, attacking very hard. TOKIC/KOMAC finally took 3-2 win.

The Men’s Doubles qualification turned out to be too tough for two strong Chinese doubles. Danes Allan BENTSEN and Martin MONRAD defeated ZHAN Jian and HOU Yingchao 3-1 and also LIU Guozheng, member of Chinese World Champion team, disappointed. Together with HAO Shuai he lost in the first round to Cedric CABESTANY and Eric VARIN (FRA) - 13-11 in the decisive game.

The Croatian double Zoran PRIMORAC and Roko TOSIC won’t be in the main draw. They lost in the 3rd round of qualification to Ferenc PASZY and Peter FAZEKAS (HUN). The Hungarians actually had an “easy job” – they won 3-0.

No problem for Wang Nan

Zagreb, Croatia, 24 January 2003. “Lucky looser” Helena HALAS (SLO) was no real test for WANG Nan, the World Champion and Olympic Champion, in her come back after a few months’ break from international table tennis.

The Chinese made an impressive performance - the Slovenian took only 27 points in four games (11, 6, 6, 4) and everything was over in 15 minutes. Yes, WANG Nan is back.

Croatian ace Tamara BOROS had a hard time against another “lucky looser”, XU Yan from Singapore. The problem was that XU refused to surrender in spite of BOROS’s 2-0 lead. She survived the heavy attacks from BOROS and came back to 2-2.

BOROS was quite close to an early exit when XU had 7-2 in the 6th game, but in the long run the top spin from BOROS was too heavy, especially from the backhand, and BOROS advanced to the second round.

Anxiety for Primorac

Zagreb, Croatia, 24 January 2003. Zoran PRIMORAC has always had difficulties to live up to the expectations from the home crowd at the Croatian Open.
On Friday it was “business as usual” when he was on the edge of losing in the first round of the Men’s Singles.

Aleksandar KARAKASEVIC (YUG) is well known as a dangerous man to the favourites and he turned out to be a real problem for PRIMORAC as well.

PRIMORAC won first game 11-7 but in a crucial 2nd game KARAKASEVIC levelled winning 15-13. PRIMORAC started to get nervous, he made too many mistakes and KARAKASEVIC played some excellent rallies.

KARAKASEVIC took the lead 3-2 but in the 6th game PRIMORAC got in control again and he won 11-1 to level the match.

In the 7th game as well PRIMORAC took the lead, 3-0, but KARAKASEVIC caught him again and the match went to 10-10 with KARAKASEVIC serving.

At that point PRIMORAC proved his mental strength making a risky return to take the point and he won the game and the match 12-10.

PRIMORAC is still in. In the next round he will face Trinko KEEN (NED).

Wang Nan is out!

Zagreb, Croatia, 24 January 2003. Who can mention the last time WANG Nan had to leave the Women’s Singles in the second round at a Pro Tour event?
For sure it’s long time ago, but it happened at the Croatian Open on Friday. Korean LEE EUN Sil ousted the World Champion and the Olympic Champion who is still considered the best player in the World.

However, WANG Nan has not been on the international scene for the last 4 months. She made a break partly because of an injury and partly because she was busy with politics, being elected as a representative at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress.

It seems like the break has set her a little back, but it shouldn’t make anyone forget that LEE Eun Sil played a very good match against WANG.

The crucial game seemed to be the 4th when WANG had several opportunities from 10-10. However, LEE took the game 17-15 and that turned out to be the end for WANG.

Croatian ace Tamara BOROS is through to the 3rd round after beating Korean JUN Hye Kyung 4-1. BOROS took the lead 3-0 before she gave the Korean a little “space”. There was never any doubt about the Croatian victory. In the next round BOROS will face the Chinese JIANG Huajun.

The other favourites are still there. ZHANG Yining (CHN), Mihaela STEFF (ROM) and NIU Jianfeng (CHN) all won quite easily.

One more thriller

Zagreb, Croatia, 24 January 2003. All the favourites, local hero Zoran PRIMORAC included, are still in. The Men’s Singles at the Croatian Open did not produce any big upsets until now.

However PRIMORAC produced one more thriller for the spectators and the Croatian television. After beating Aleksander KARAKASEVIC YUG) 12-10 in the 7th game in the first round, he took another seven games against Dutch Trinko KEEN.

Trinko KEEN took the lead 2-0 but PRIMORAC hang in there and turned the match around to take a 3-2 lead.

In the 6th game the Croatian had 10-4 – six match points, but he just couldn’t take the last point. Instead KEEN took it winning 13-11.

However PRIMORAC recovered from the frustration in the 7th and took the lead once more – 10-6. This time as well he had difficulties but he took the third match point winning the game and the match 11-8.

“My backhand was excellent, and actually I started thinking when it would stop – that happened in the 6th game when I had 6 match points”, says PRIMORAC who will face Korean RYU Seung Min in the 3rd round.

Timo BOLL had an easy win over Swede Jens LUNDQVIST but the next Swede – in the 3rd round – might be a little bit more difficult. BOLL meets veteran Jorgen PERSSON. Also WANG Liqin (CHN), Werner SCHLAER (AUT) and CHUAN Chih Yuan (TPE) advance to the third round.

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