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Wang Hao is Greek Open Champion

Hopes to repeat success in Athens Olympics

Athens, Greece, 1 February, 2004. WANG Hao is running for the 3rd Chinese ticket to the Men?s Singles at the 2004 Olympics, and on his way he grabbed the Greek Open title as well. In the final of the Men?s Singles he overcame his compatriot and team mate MA Lin (CHN).

It was a very close match but it actually looks like WANG Hao is on top of his game at the very right moment ? right before the team World Championship in Doha and the Chinese selection of who should get the chance of qualifying for the Olympics together with MA Lin and WANG Liqin.

WANG Hao had the lead both 2-1 and 3-2.
However, neither player was able to establish an advantage, both made errors attempting outrageous winners but eventually WANG Hao?s backhand topspin from the reverse side of the racket when played `down-the-line? wide to MA Lin?s forehand started to pay dividends.

In the fifth game, with the match score level and the players tied at 8-8, WANG Hao played two backhand topspins to MA Lin?s forehand; both were winners and he had game point; he tried again with MA Lin serving, only this time the latter was ready and a lightning forehand topspin won the point. Again MA Lin served, should WANG Hao try the same tactic again? The answer was positive in the extreme, he did and MA Lin never even put racket on the ball, WANG Hao was one game away from the title.

In the 6th game WANG Hao had some bad periods with a row of points lost quickly and MA Lin levelled to 3-3.

Again in the 7th however WANG Hao played very well and every time the players got into longer rallies WANG Hao came out on top. He won the game and the match 11-5.

"I had the feeling, that if I could keep the ball on the table and bring MA Lin into longer rallies, then I would have an advantage", said WANG Hao.

After KONG Linghui?s early defeat to Vladimir SAMSONOV (BLR) and after CHEN Qi surrendering in the semi-finals, WANG Hao took a big step towards being the 3rd Chinese at the Olympics.

"I can't count on anything yet, but yes, of course this was a good step towards the Olympics".

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