Karlsson beats World Champion

Croatian Open Review

ITTF Press Releases

Jiang ousted Boros

Zagreb, Croatia, 25 January 2003. The best European player, the Croatian ace Tamara BOROS, is not there anymore – she stumbled in the Women’s Singles losing to the Chinese JIANG Huajun.

The Croatian heroine looked very good in the first game which she won 11-5. In the 2nd she went on to take the lead 8-4. However, a service mistake from Boros seemed to change the match. She lost the game and though she took the 3rd game she was not in control anymore.

JIANG attacked aggressively and she didn’t made any mistake while BOROS was forced to go backwards. JIANG advanced to the quarter-finals with a 4-2 victory, and BOROS once more disappointed the home crowd at the Croatian Open.

“I actually think that I played much better than in the first two rounds but JIANG was really good today. I tried to make some changes in my game but it didn’t work. I gave all I had, she was better. I’m not disappointed”, says BOROS and coach Neven CEGNAR adds:

“If JIANG had just missed five percent of her attacks Tamara could surely have won – but the Chinese didn’t miss anything”.

The World’s No. 1, ZHANG Yining (CHN) seems to be unbeatable in this tournament. In the first three rounds she lost only two games. Her compatriot BAI Yang was only a spectator in the third round against ZHANG and couldn’t take a single game.

In the next round ZHANG will play against another European hope Mihaela STEFF (ROM).

Boll on the edge

Zagreb, Croatia, 25 January 2003. Top seed and the World’s nr. 1, Timo BOLL (GER) didn’t give away one single game in the first two rounds of the Men’s Singles, but in the third round he had lots of trouble with Swedish veteran Jorgen PERSSON.

PERSSON seems to be back in top form after a long break because of an injury which was close to stopping his career. Against BOLL the Swede played in exhibition style. He had the lead 2-0 but he couldn’t keep up the level. BOLL caught him at 2-2, PERSSON took the fifth game to 3-2 but after that he had no more to give. BOLL once more showed his mental strength and he will be very hard to stop. Maybe WANG Hao has some ideas – the two youngsters will meet in the next round.

2nd seed, World Champion WANG Liqin (CHN) also looks very strong. Russian Aleksei SMIRNOV did everything he could but he couldn’t take more than one game. Many excellent rallies showed that the World Champion is on his way back.

In the quarter-finals WANG will play against former European Champion Peter KARLSSON (SWE) who won a spectacular match against Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL) 4-2.

The winner of the Grand Finals, CHUAN Chih Yuan (TPE) was up against LIU Guozheng (CHN) who hasn’t been on the international scene for some time – and LIU had to realize that CHUAN has improved a lot while he has been away. CHUAN won 4-3.

Local hero Zoran PRIMORAC couldn’t survive one more round. At the other
end of the table Korean RYU Seung Min was too fast for the Croatian.

RYU won 4-0 and he meets compatriot OH Sang Eun in the quarter-finals.

Chinese women – once more

Zagreb, Croatia, 25 January 2003. The final on Sunday in the Women’s Doubles will be a Chinese matter – while the Men’s Doubles final will be without any Chinese in spite of the fact that China entered a very strong men’s team in Zagreb.

Actually already the men’s semi finals on Saturday evening were “non-Chinese”. In the first semi final KO Lai Chak/LI Ching (HKG) met the Danes Allan BENTSEN/Finn TUGWELL.

The Hong Kong pair took the first game, but the Danes levelled to 1-1. The 3rd game was crucial. It was close all the way, but when KO and LI took it 12-10 the match was going their way. BENTSEN and TUGWELL only got 2 points in the following game and they also lost the 5th to hand over the 4-1 victory to KO Lai Chak and LI Ching.

In the final they will meet the winners of the Grand Finals 2001, KIM Taek Soo/OH Sang Eun (KOR). In the other semi-final the Koreans overcame Lucjan BLASZSZYK/Tomasz KRZESZEWSKI (POL) 4-0.

The Women’s Doubles final will be a matter between Chinese WANG Nan/ZHANG Yining and BAI Yang/JIANG Huajun.

WANG and ZHANG easily beat the Hungarian/Lithuanian pair Otilia BADESCU and Ruta BUDIENE-GARKAUSKAITE, while BAI and JIANG ousted the two top Europeans Tamara BOROS and Mihaela STEFF 4-2.

Korean success

Zagreb, Croatia, 25 January 2003. Korean LEE Eun Sil has had a great time at the Croatian Open until now. First she ousted the World Champion, WANG Nan (CHN), and then she overcame one of the best Europeans, Krisztina TOTH (HUN).

On Saturday she qualified for the semi finals on Sunday by beating the German Olga NEMES who also went further than expected by overcoming nr. 8 on the World Ranking, Singaporean LI Jia Wei.

In the quarter-final against NEMES, LEE Eun Sil did not leave much doubt. NEMES could follow her to 2-2, but after that LEE took control and won the next two games quite easily to take the match.

In the semi final LEE will meet NIU Jianfeng (CHN) who overcame Japanese Ai FUJINUMA.

Top seed ZHANG Yining (CHN) took out the last European. ZHANG lost the first game to Mihaela STEFF (ROM) but then she took the next 4 in a row to advance to the semi final against compatriot GUO Yan

Karlsson beats the World Champion

Zagreb, Croatia, 25 January 2003. Former European Champion, Swede Peter KARLSSON often plays at one level below the very best, but once in a while he stands up and beats everybody that comes his way.

It happened when he won the European Championships and it happened once more when he won the Italian Open last year.

On Saturday he made himself heard again beating the World Champion WANG Liqin in the Men’s Singles quarter-finals. WANG wasn’t even close – before he woke up, KARLSSON had taken the first four games!!

“Easy? Not at all. After winning the 1st game I knew that I had to keep up the level. WANG tried different kinds of tactics but today wasn’t his day. I have had a very good period the last few weeks, and today my feeling was excellent”, says KARLSSON who is the only European left.

Together with the 2nd seed WANG, top seed Timo BOLL left as well. The German lost to young Chinese WANG Hao after a German 2-0 lead – BOLL lost 2-4!!

In the semi finals WANG Hao will face Korean OH Sang Eun. The 3 Koreans OH Sang Eun, RYU Seung Min and KIM Taek Soo are having “a good fight” about being the best Korean on the World Ranking. Now it seems that OH will take a step in front of the others after beating compatriot RYU in the quarters.

KARLSSON has another big challenge waiting for him. After beating the World Champion he will take on the winner of the Grand Finals CHUAN Chih Yuan (TPE).

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