Qatar Open: Samsonov takes prize
Qatar Open Review
Friday, March 07, 2003
Boros through to the final
Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2003. Top seed in Women’s Singles, Tamara BOROS (CRO), is through to the final – but it wasn’t easy.
Though Wenling TAN MONFARDINI (ITA) is only no. 159 on the World Ranking she gave the Croatian star a tough time. TAN MONFARDINI is fast moving and blocking very well. She changes very fast from defense to attack and she managed to disturb BOROS’ rhythm.
The Italian won the 1st game. Then BOROS took the lead 2-1, but the match was levelled at 2-2. BOROS took the lead again 3-2 and in the 6th she had 9-5. Then TAN MONFARDINI took at time out and after that she came close to BOROS.
At the end however BOROS managed to take the match point and advance to the final where she will meet Viktoria PAVLOVICH.
PAVLOVICH beat compatriot Tatyana KOSTROMINA (BLR). Both play a solid defensive but they are also both capable of attacking. KOSTROMINA chose to be the most aggressive, but she couldn’t break the defense of PAVLOVICH.
PAVLOVICH won 4-0 and she is now in her first Pro Tour final.
One more victim
Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2003. Aleksei SMIRNOV (RUS) left one more victim behind when he beat Werner SCHLAGER (AUT) to go to the final of the Men’s Singles at the Qatar Open.
SMIRNOV never left any doubt. He won 4-0 and he never let SCHLAGER into the match. One of the Austrian’s best weapons is his service, but SMIRNOV returned excellently and often came into attack after SCHLAGER’s service.
First game was quite even but after taking that SMIRNOV only “gave” SCHLAGER four points in the 2nd. In the 3rd as well SMIRNOV had a big lead, but for the first time SCHLAGER started playing well and he caught the Russian at 9-9. However, SMIRNOV is getting stronger also psychological and he didn’t step back. He won the game and went to 3-0.
In the beginning of the 4th game SCHLAGER actually had the lead, but SMIRNOV kept on playing well and he got himself two match points at 10-8. He took the second to go to his first Pro Tour final where he will meet Vladimir SAMSONOV (BLR).
SAMSONOV had a narrow win against Lucjan BLASZCZYK (POL) in the other semi-final. The match went all the way to the 7th game and BLASZCZYK had the lead7-4 and 8-6. Then SAMSONOV however played some excellent rallies and he won 5 points in the row to take the victory.
SAMSONOV and SMIRNOV will now decide who can go home with the first prize of 34.000 US Dollars.
Belarus on the podium
Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2003. Tatyana LOGATZKAYA and Veronika PAVLOVICH (BLR) were the first players on the podium in Qatar. They won the Women’s Doubles showing excellent table tennis and beating DING Yan (ITA) and WANG Chen (USA).
It is very simple – the fact that DING Yan and WANG Chen normally don’t play doubles together made all the difference. The game of the two Belarus women was simply more consistent and more confident.
LOGATZKAYA and PAVLOVICH are both good all round players. They both have a very good forehand top spin, but they also know how to defend.
They took the victory 4-1 and they even had chances to win in four straight games. In the 3rd they had the lead but they lost focus and let DING and WANG into the game.
The winners go home to Belarus with 6000 US Dollars. The runner up pair had to settle with 3000.
Message from Rosskopf
Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2003. Former Doubles World Champion Jorg ROSSKOPF sent a clear message from Qatar on Friday: I am still here!
After a long and heavy period with a serious arm injury which threatened his career, ROSSKOPF started practising few months ago and on Friday he won a Pro Tour title in Men’s Doubles together with Greek Kalinikos KREANGA. They beat the Austrian top pair Karl JINDRAK/Werner SCHLAGER.
The two top players normally don’t play together, but they paired up very well. The fact that ROSSKOPF is a lefthander leaves lots of space for KREANGA’s heavy topspin from both wings, and the Austrians couldn’t resist.
They took the lead 1-0 but after that ROSSKOPF/KREANGA found their rhythm and they both played their best. The mixed pair took the lead 3-1, but the Austrians took another game to 3-2.
In the 6th game it was even all the way. JINDRAK/SCHLAGER had a game point at 10-9, but ROSSKOPF/KREANGA survived and took the title on their first match point winning 4-2.
“Before the Qatar Open I felt that I was still far from my best, but during the doubles matches with KREANGA I felt more and more confident, and I think we played a very good final”, says Jorg ROSSKOPF who can share the first prize of 9000 US Dollars with KREANGA.
Boros broke the Pavlovich wall
Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2003. Viktoria PAVLOVICH (BLR) couldn’t follow up on her sister Veronika’s success in Women’s Doubles. In Women’s Singles Viktoria couldn’t resist the heavy topspin from Tamara BOROS who took the title winning a thrilling final .
BOROS looked like the winner all the way, but PAVLOVICH kept on hanging in there refusing to give up.
BOROS hade the lead 2-1 and 3-2. In the 6th game Tamara got herself two match points at 10-8, but she missed the first one and the second one PAVLOVICH finished with a smashing backhand. The Croatian also missed the third and the fourth match point at 11-10 and 12-11, and instead PAVLOVICH took the game 13-15.
However in the 7th game BOROS very quickly took a big lead. She went to 6-0 and 8-1, but PAVLOVICH never gives up easy. She came back to 9-6 before BOROS could finish the match and take the title.
“BOROS won two matches in that final. She beat her opponent but she also overcame herself. She felt sure that she couldn’t beat PAVLOVICH because she is defending so well and after missing 5 match points in the 6th it was even harder for her to believe in her chances. However finally in the 7th game she played tactically well”, says coach Neven CEGNAR.
SAMSONOV took the prize
Doha, Qatar, 7 March 2003. Vladimir SAMSONOV took the most prestigious Pro Tour title of the year, the Qatar Open title taking home a first prize of 34.000 US Dollars.
In the final SAMSONOV beat Aleksei SMIRNOV who had reached his first Pro Tour final after beating two top 10 players from the World Ranking, Kalinikos KREANGA (GRE) and Werner SCHLAGER (AUT).
However in the final it looked like SMIRNOV had run out of steam – or SAMSONOV was simply too strong and consistent for SMIRNOV.
SAMSONOV won 4-0 and he did not leave many chances for SMIRNOV to get into the game. In the 2nd and the 3rd game SMIRNOV came to 9 but he never had a game point.
The title as Qatar Open Champion is Vladimir SAMSONOV’s 8th Pro Tour title, but he has never taken home from a Pro Tour as much money as he takes away from Doha.
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