Kreanga wins Men's Singles

Qualifies for Pro Tour Grand Finals

ITTF Press Release

The scenario was quite simple for Kalinikos KREANGA of Greece; if he could beat Sweden’s Peter KARLSSON in the final of the Men’s Singles event at the Eurosib St Petersburg Open on Sunday 28 November 2004 he would qualify for the Volkswagen Grand Finals in Beijing in early December.

However, if he lost there would be no need for a visa and no need to visit the travel agent to purchase a ticket from Greece to China.

KREANGA won and won impressively, gaining victory in straight games and thus qualified in twelfth place for the Volkswagen Grand Finals; the player to be demoted to seventeenth place as a result of the Greek star’s success was Poland’s Lucjan BLASZCZYK; he now occupies the position of first reserve.

Furthermore, whilst KARLSSON was no doubt disappointed to lose in the final he need not be too downhearted, he finishes the year in thirteenth place, one below KREANGA and like his Greek adversary can now book his flight to Beijing.

The victory in St Petersburg underlines KREANGA’s recent return to good form. He suffered intense disappointment in Athens when, on home soil, he lost on his first visit the table at the Olympic Games in August, being beaten by Sweden’s Jörgen PERSSON; however, at the Bosideng Multiglory World Cup in Xiaoshan in October he was in splendid form and reached the final eventually losing to China’s MA Lin.

“After Olympic Games in Greece I didn’t participate in any competitions for a long time but I missed professional table tennis”, explained KREANGA who, having won the final in some style, was well aware that he had come very close to defeat in his seven game semi-final duel against Austria’s Robert GARDOS. “Certainly I was close to losing the semi-final match against Robert, I lost the first two games and I was fortunate to eventually win.”

Predictably, KREANGA was pleased that he had maintained the good form he had shown in Xiaoshan in October and his bank balance had benefited from his visit to St Petersburg. However, it would seem he has a dilemma, a problem but a very enviable problem. “Unfortunately I will be rather busy in the near future”, he smiled. “So I don’t have time to think about how I will be spend my prize of US15,000!”

The meeting in St Petersburg was the fifth time in international competition since 1999 that KREANGA has played KARLSSON, KREANGA has now won four of those five encounters, the only defeat being in August 1999 at the World Championships.

Kalinikos KREANGA (GRE) bt Peter KARLSSON (SWE) 11-5, 13-11, 11-5, 11-6

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