Qatar Open: Day 1

Qatar Open Review

ITTF Press Releases

Learning time

Doha, Qatar, 5 March 2003. Many players from the Arab and the African continents are participating in the Qatar Open taking the opportunity to play against some of the World’s top players.
First round of the Men’s Singles were therefore time for gaining some experience from these encounters.

Alfred NAJEM (LIB) faced Belgian Philippe SAIVE – and that was too big a challenge for him. He lost 4-0. However playing face to face with players from the top 100 is the only way to improve for the Arab and African players who are actually often quite talented.

The host association had 9 players in the main draw of the Men’s Singles – for them as well a unique opportunity to measure themselves internationally.

The only one advancing to the second round was Hamad AL-HAMMADI. He beat Canadian Faazil Kasaam in a real cliff hanger. The match went all the way to the 7th game and AL-HAMMADI took it 11-9.

The ITTF President in Doha

Doha, Qatar, 5 March 2003. The Executive Committee of the ITTF has been invited by the Qatar Table Tennis Association to hold one of it’s meetings in Doha during the Qatar Open and the ITTF President Mr. Adham SHARARA on Wednesday met with the Qatar media.

We are here because the organising association has invited us, so that we, together, can discuss the agreements and the preparation for the Team World Championships in Doha next year”, says the ITTF President.

“We feel sure that the leaders of the Qatar Association can organise an excellent event in 2004, they have already proved to be able to “build up” the best event within the Pro Tour”.

Mr. Adham SHARARA also talked about the Pro Tour event and the late cancellations from associations and players who did not feel secure going to the region because of the Iraq crisis.

“I understand why the organisers are disappointed, but we must accept that some people feel anxious because of the current situation. However, it is not acceptable that some associations cancel the day before or on the day of the start of the Qatar Open. We will discuss what to do with these late cancellations in order to compensate the Qatar Table Tennis Association for the financial loss”.

The ITTF President also underlined that in spite of the cancellations the Qatar Open is still presenting a list of World class players.

“The field here is still as good as at many other Pro Tour events. In Men’s Singles we have 4 players from top 10 on the World Ranking, we have the winners from the previous two years and we have several World Champions present”.

Nemes stumbled

Doha, Qatar, 5 March 2003. The 2nd seeded in the Women’s Singles at the Qatar Open is out – German Olga NEMES lost to Veronika PAVLOVICH (BLR) already in the second round.

PAVLOVICH started out very aggressively and NEMES never really got confident with her game. PAVLOVICH had the lead 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. The 6th game was very close. It was even from the very beginning but from 9-9 only PAVLOVICH had game (and match) points. She needed a few before she could take the game and the match 13-11.

The defeat was a bitter pill for Olga NEMES. On the current World Ranking she is ranked within the group of 20 players who would qualify directly for the Olympics in Athens (The World Ranking after the World Championships in Paris in May will be decisive).

Since she is not playing anymore for the German national team, she will be neither at the European Championships in April nor at the World Championships in Paris, so this was the last opportunity for NEMES to improve her World Ranking. Now she will probably be overtaken by compatriot Nicole STRUSE.

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