Timo Boll wins Men's World Cup
Boll's best tournament ever
Sunday, October 23, 2005
ITTF Press Release --
The final of the Liebherr Men’s World Cup in Liège was the fourth time that Timo BOLL had played WANG Hao in international competition and honours were even.
Both of the first two meetings had gone the way of WANG Hao, whilst the latter two had been won by Timo BOLL.
The most recent had been the Men’s Singles semi-final at the Volkswagen Open Japan when the German had prevailed in a close seven games encounter; in Liège we saw a repeat.
BOLL could not have made a better start, he raced into a 7-0 lead in the first game before WANG Hao replied, the Chinese star recovered somewhat but the deficit was far too great. Timo BOLL won in quick-fire style 11-3 and was one game to the good.
The second game was to some extent quite the reverse. WANG Hao won the first five points, BOLL reduced the arrears to 6-3 but that was the closest he came, WANG Hao secured victory 11-4. Both games had been played at breakneck speed and were over in the blink of an eye.
In the third game it was BOLL who made the better start, he won the first four points but this time WANG Hao did not let him race away, he reduced the arrears to 4-2. BOLL, then extended his lead to 6-2 before once again WANG Hao halted the German express and won the next six points. However, he won no more. It was the German’s turn to win a sequence of points.
He won the next four points, the one that took him to 10-8 being a stupendous topspin rally with coach, Richard PRAUSE, on his feet in admiration. It was game point for BOLL and at the first attempt he converted the opportunity. He won 11-8 and was two games to one ahead.
In each of the three games one player had made the better start and always from the same end of the table! Surely the pattern could not continue? It did, WANG Hao went ahead 8-0 before BOLL recorded a success, there was to be no monumental recovery, WANG Hao duly won the game 11-3, it was two games all.
However, in the fifth game the early part of the contest was much closer. WANG Hao concentrated his first attacking stroke into the backhand of Timo BOLL whilst Timo BOLL returned the complement by playing fast with his forehand into the body of his Chinese adversary.
Neither protagonist was able to establish a clear lead, as one or other had done, in the previous four games; the scores reached 9-all with Timo BOLL to serve. The first service was attacked with venom by WANG Hao to win the point, the second he returned off the side of the table 10-all. Fearsome attacks from WANG Hao, he had game point then another outstanding topspin rally and the players were level again. Again, WANG Hao took advantage of the fact that he was serving, he attacked quickly after the service went ahead 12-11 and had another game point.
Coach, LIU Guoliang called `Time Out’, the players returned and WANG Hao won the point to go ahead in the match for the first time.
The sixth game WANG Hao established an early lead, 3-1, BOLL levelled then went ahead 4-3 but WANG Hao won the next three points prompting BOLL to call `Time Out’, the game was slipping away, he needed a re-think. However, he had called a `Time Out’ with WANG Hao to serve, the Chinese star capitalised and went ahead 8-4.
Serving BOLL won the next two points, 8-6 to WANG Hao; then he won the next 8-7 and the next 8-all; the crowd roared in appreciation and the chant of `Timo, Timo, Timo’ rang around the hall. The momentum of the game had swung in favour of BOLL, he won the next three points and with right fist raised in the air he won the game and yet again he was involved in a seven games duel.
In the quarters he had beaten WANG Liqin in seven games, in the semis, MA Lin in seven games, now could he do the same against a third Chinese player?
In the seventh game he led 5-0 when the players changed ends and the crowd was two hundred per cent behind him. A stroke of fortune, a forehand topspin clipped the end of the table, 6-0. However, WANG Hao is a man of character. He won the next four points before Timo BOLL halted the sequence. Coach Richard PRAUSE was again on his feet, the crowd chanted `Timo’ time and again, Timo responded and sped to 10-4 ahead.
WANG Hao saved the first match point but not the second, for the second time in his career Timo BOLL had won the Men’s World Cup, he had won the Liebherr Men’s World Cup and he had done it the hard way.
“It was a tough tournament but it was my tournament ever, to beat three Chinese players is very special”, said BOLL. “I was down in sixth game and I thought I would lose but the spectators came to my rescue, they really helped me.”
Certainly, he had the crowd’s support but he still had to do the business. “It was mentally very hard, perhaps in the seventh game WANG Hao lost a little concentration and maybe he became a little nervous”, continued Timo BOLL who had beaten WANG Hao on the last three occasions that they had met in international competition. So, having lost on the first two occasions, what had improved?
“I just think everything is better, my whole game is better”, explained BOLL. “I think in particular near the net I’m better, I’m better at serving and receiving service so that makes it harder for the Chinese to beat me.” BOLL highlighted the crucial part of a table tennis match and the aspect in which the Chinese over the years have excelled.
He had beaten the top three Chinese players and he had beaten each one in seven games; the admiration of the crowd plus the kiss and the hug from his wife, Rhodelia, was well deserved.
Timo BOLL (GER) beat WANG Hao (CHN) 11-3, 4-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5.
Photo: Timo BOLL, the winner of the Liebherr Men's World Cup
Play with the blade Timo Boll uses:
Timo Boll Spirit blade
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