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China are World Team Champions

Asians Women dominate again

ITTF Press Release

WANG Hao gave China the ideal start in the final of the Men's Team event at the Liebherr World Table Tennis Championships in Doha; he was the faster out of the starting blocks and Timo BOLL, the hero of Germany's semi-final victory over Korea one day earlier, was beaten in straight games.

The Chinese star took a 5-0 lead in the opening game, BOLL fought but the deficit was too great and WANG Hao came home 11-7; throughout WANG Hao predominantly attacked the German's backhand and continued the policy in the second game but was less effective, it was a more tentative affair, unforced errors accrued but the rally that brought the game to a conclusion was a thriller with WANG Hao's tirade of topspins eventually extracting a BOLL error.

Win a close game and you are confident and so it proved; the typhoon that had blown so strongly when China had beaten Germany two days earlier was once again hurricane force. A ripping forehand wide to the German star's forehand left BOLL flat footed, he could only return to his colleagues, mesmerized, shaking his head, he'd lost to superman.

In the semi-final contest against Korea, Germany had gone for experience in the guise of Jörg ROSSKOPF, in the final they went for youth and selected Christian SÜSS. The young German played as well as he was allowed to play, in the first game MA Lin tore into him, but SÜSS was not overawed. He lost the first but playing like a dream established a 5-0 lead in the second, MA Lin recovered somewhat but to his credit SÜSS kept his nerve and levelled proceedings.

Alas, for Germany that was to be the sum total of success for SÜSS, MA Lin decided that there was a good reason why he had number one on the back of his shirt; he was aware that he was involved in a tough fight, he made errors but eventually came home in four games. On occasions MA Lin looked to his colleagues on the bench for inspiration as SÜSS hung on to his shirt tails but in trying to stop his Chinese adversary making ferocious attacks he made errors. The young German played well, very well; perhaps he'll never play better and lose. `You have to be honest, China is the best team, they played at an extremely high level and I agree I don't think I've ever played better and lost!? he said. SÜSS shook hands with MA Lin and with umpire Mick STRODE, who patted him on the back, a gesture that was well deserved.

Matters came to a conclusion with WANG Liqin beating Zoltan FEJER-KONNERTH; in the opening game the German player was unable to stem the tirade of forehands from the former Men's Singles World Champion. At every opportunity the tall Chinese star unleashed his favourite stroke, FEJER-KONNERTH was reduced to desperate measures, he gambled with outrageous topspin strokes but it was in vain.

However, just as SÜSS had done before FEJER-KONNERTH won the second game, he proved his now a senior player of high quality and in the third had his chances. Serving and receiving service well, he established a 6-2 lead, WANG Liqin levelled at 8-all, FEJER-KONNERTH moved ahead 10-8 but that vital last point proved elusive. WANG Liqin won the next four points and China was within touching distance of the Swaythling Cup.

WANG Liqin was now brimful of confidence, his forehand topspin was dominant, the players and coaches on the Chinese bench applauded every success and rose to their feet in admiration, except that is for KONG Linghui. He sat throughout, politely applauding, no doubt confident in his compatriot's ability and after all seeing WANG Liqin unleash a crushing sequence of forehands was nothing new.

The match came to a conclusion with Zoltan FEJER-KONNERTH, off balance, playing a forehand topspin into the net. The Chinese camp and their supporters celebrated. Germany has a young team and today they were given a lesson by the masters but they will back, stronger for the experience and the next time they will be on home soil; in 2006 the World Table Tennis Team Championships will be in Bremen, Germany and no doubt BOLL, FEJER-KONNERTH and SÜSS will be on duty aiming to finish one step higher on the medal podium.


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