Qatar Open: Favourites in trouble

Qatar Open Review

ITTF Press Releases

Swedish encounter

Doha, Qatar, 6 March 2003. The four participating Swedes at the Qatar Open ended up at the same table in the Men’s Doubles quarter finals and Peter KARLSSON/Fredrik HAKANSSON and Jorgen PERSSON/Jens LUNDQVIST gave each other a fantastic fight.

Of course they know each other very well, so anything could happen in that doubles match – and it did.

PERSSON/LUNDQVIST for a long time seemed to be on their way to victory. From 1-1 they took the lead 3-1 quite easily winning the next two games 11-5, 11-6.

KARLSSON/HAKANSSON however got their acts together and slowly recovered. They came back to 3-3. The 7th and decisive game was a cliff hanger. It went all the way to 10-10 before KARLSSON/HAKANSSON could decide the match winning 12-10.

In the semi-finals they will meet Greek Kalinikos KREANGA and German Jorg ROSSKOPF, a pair created for the occasion. ROSSKOPF is back after his long lasting injury, but in the singles match against Aleksander KARAKASEVIC (YUG) it was obvious that the German still has some way to go before he is at his maximum. KARAKASEVIC beat ROSSKOPF 4-2.

Favourites in trouble

Doha, Qatar, 6 March 2003. Two of the favourites in Men’s Singles were in deep trouble in the round of the last 16 – and only one of them made it.

Last year’s winner Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL) seems to have a habit of being on the edge of losing in each and every match when he is in Doha.

That was the case last year, and it was also the case in his match against Swede Jens LUNDQVIST – however this time he got too close to the edge. LUNDQVIST won 11-9 in the 7th game.
The Swede was up 2-0 and 3-2, but SAIVE – as usual – kept on fighting and he came back to 3-3. In the 7th thing were constantly changing. LUNDQVIST had 3-1. Then SAIVE took the lead 3-6 but LUNDQVIST evened to 6-6.

The Swede got his first match point at 10-9 and he took it. Last years Qatar Open Champion in Men’s Singles is out.

Kalinikos KREANGA also had trouble in his match against Tomasz KRZEZEWSKI (POL). In the 5th game KREANGA had the lead 9-5 but he lost 9-11. However he came back to 3-3 and he took the decisive game 11-8.

1st seed Werner SCHLAGER beat easily Aleksander KARAKASEVIC (YUG).

Doha will get a new champion

Doha, Qatar, 6 March 2003. Men’s Singles at the Qatar Open for sure will have a new name on the list of champions. Earlier on Thursday last year’s winner, Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL) stumbled, and later the Qatar Open Champion 2001 Zoran PRIMORAC (CRO) fell out losing to Lucjan BLASZCZYK (POL).

PRIMORAC had 1-1 but after that BLASZCZYK was in control. The games were close but BLASZCZYK won 3 in a row and PRIMORAC left the tournament as the last former Qatar Open Champion…

The new one could be one of the two top seeds, Werner SCHLAGER (AUT) and Vladimir SAMSONOV (BLR). They both won their matches in the round of the last 16 without major problems.

In the quarter finals they will both face Swedes. SCHLAGER meets Jens LUNDQVIST who ousted Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL) and SAMSONOV will take on Fredrik HAKANSSON who overcame compatriot Peter KARLSSON

Profit time for Smirnov

Doha, Qatar, 6 March 2003. Aleksei SMIRNOV (RUS) at the Qatar Open delivers another proof of the fact that playing constantly on the Pro Tour is a good way to success.

Among others Timo BOLL (GER) and CHUAN Chih-Yuan (TPE) proved it before, and on Thursday SMIRNOV reached the semi-finals in Doha. Last year he played 10 Pro Tour events, and he was constantly improving – he still is.

Against Kalinikos KREANGA (GRE) in the quarter finals SMIRNOV was aggressive and smart thinking. Only in the 5th game, when he had the victory in his hands he lost his focus. Leading 3-1 he had 8-2, and though KREANGA caught him SMIRNOV had a match point - but lost the game.

“I stopped playing aggressively being so close to the victory – and then KREANGA took a few chances and succeeded”, says SMIRNOV.

However in the 6th game SMIRNOV was back on the road and he took the victory 4-2. He was in the semi-finals already at the German Open last year. On Friday he has the opportunity to take one more step upwards.

Being in the semi-finals he already has 8500 US Dollars in his pocket. First prize is 34.000!

Between sisters

Doha, Qatar, 6 March 2003. One of the quarter finals in Women’s Singles was a match between sisters. Twin sisters Veronika and Viktoria PAVLOVICH (BLR) had to decide which one of them should go to the semi-finals.

They look alike, but at the table it is not difficult to know who is who – Veronika is attacking with heavy top spin, Viktoria is playing defensive.

Viktoria has done very well during the last years reaching lots of quarter finals and semi-finals at the Pro Tour events and in 2001 she reached the Grand Finals. Veronika is not playing that often internationally, but when she does she is dangerous to anyone.

Viktoria came out victorious from the family encounter. It was obvious that the two sisters are training partners and they provided long rallies with Viktoria defending herself from Veronika strong forehand.

However in the long run Veronika couldn’t break down the defensive wall of Viktoria who won 4-2.

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