China dominate Singapore Open

Wang Liqin wins again

ITTF Press Release

WANG Liqin of China, as his compatriot ZHANG Yining had done before, won his second Menís Singles title of 2004 on the ITTF Pro Tour when he beat his colleague, the current world ranked number one player, MA Lin at the final hurdle of the Volkswagen Open in Singapore.

The two players illustrate the contrasting styles now seen in the nation that leads the table tennis world. WANG Liqin is a shakehands grip player, powerful, he is at his best a short distance away from the table where he can execute his long powerful forehand; MA Lin is a penhold grip player of the modern type, fast, athletic and utilising the backhand topspin from the reverse side of the racket.

It was MA Linís ability to return short services from the backhand by raising the elbow of the playing arm high and rotating the racket around the outside of the ball to produce a mixture of topspin and sidespin that caused WANG Liqin some problems. However, it was the champion electís ability to block MA Linís fierce forehand attacks from his backhand court with his own backhand that proved decisive. Several times WANG Liqin blocked with the backed wide to MA Linís forehand, the player ranked number one in the world returned weakly and the shakehands grip player unleashed a powerful forehand to win the point.

WANG Liqin won the first two games but lost the third, the closest of the contest. MA Lin having had opportunities to win the game decided to call `Time Outí when leading 15-14; the break allowed him to compose himself, gather his thoughts and return to the fray. The minuteís refection worked, with a blistering forehand won the next point and had a lifeline.

However, there was to be no ZHANG Yining style fight back. WANG Liqin won the next two games in impressive style and was duly crowned the first Menís Singles champion at an ITTF Pro Tour event in Singapore; it was success for China and as the previous week all four titles had gone their way.

Once again China had proved that they are the worldís leading nation in the sport of table tennis.

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