Rye Seung Min wins US Open

MS final dominated by fast footwork

ITTF Press Release

RYU Seung Min added a second title to his collection at the ITTF Pro Tour Killerspin US Open on Saturday 3 July 2004 when he beat CHUAN Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei in the Menís Singles final to add to the Menís Doubles title won earlier in the afternoon.

The contest was between two players who no doubt have the fastest footwork in the world of table tennis, the result an action packed encounter at break neck speed and one thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd.

Both protagonists served throughout the match with their forehands. CHUAN Chih-Yuan is a shakehands grip player with a consistent backhand topspin and a fierce forehand attack whilst RYU Seung Min is a penhold topspin player from the old school. He tries to attack every ball with his forehand, in the KIM Taek Soo mould, and coaching him of course was KIM Taek Soo; the newly appointed Korean menís coach and the man who has been RYU Seung Minís mentor for the last seven years.

The obvious strategy for both was to try to avoid the other's forehand and so a large number of rallies started with backhand to backhand exchanges with RYU Seung Min blocking very consistently from the backhand court. Inevitably, one player would execute a forehand and when that happened the points were over rather quickly; in particular RYU Seung Min made every effort to play his forehand knowing that was a match winning stroke.

The opening three games were very close. RYU Seung Min won the first, 11-9; in the second, he held game points at 10-9, 11-10, 13-12 and 14-13 but couldn't convert, CHUAN Chih-Yuan winning 16-14. The highlight of the game being at 13-all, when CHUAN Chih-Yuan fired fierce forehand topspins wide to the Koreanís backhand, he returned the first seven back with his backhand from close to the court surrounds, just as his coach used to do, and then stepped around to play a devastating forehand topspin winner, again just as his coach used to do!

The third game was equally enthralling, equally exciting and seemingly whoever served won the point. CHUAN Chih-Yuan had two game points and RYU Seung Min had four before eventually winning 15-13 to lead by two games to one. In the fourth game, the Chinese Taipei man led 6-4 but from that moment on the match was dominated by RYU Seung Min. He won thirteen of the next fourteen points to clinch the fifth game 11-7 and the sixth11-3. It seemed that the Korean could do no wrong. CHUAN Chih-Yuan made mistakes and couldnít stop the Korean attacking strongly after the service. RYU Seung Min won 11-9, 14-16, 15-13, 11-7, 11-3.

`I told RYU Seung Min to play forehand to forehand whenever possibleí, explained KIM Taek Soo. `Also, when blocking, concentrate on consistency, don't try to block too hard, since CHUAN Chih-Yuan is better when the game is fast.í

The strategy worked and RYU Seung Min had repeated the success gained in Egypt earlier in the year where he had won both the Menís Singles and Menís Doubles titles and it seems that the niche created by the retirement of KIM Taek Soo is being filled very quickly and itís being filled by his protťgť.

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