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Boll wins Swedish Open

The German's second ITTF Pro Tour Menís Singles title of the year

Germanyís Timo BOLL maintained the good form he has displayed in recent months to win the Menís Singles title at the Liebherr Swedish Open in Gothenburg on Sunday 20th November 2005. In the final he beat Belgiumís Jean-Michel SAIVE 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 13-11 to win his second ITTF Pro Tour Menís Singles title of the year.

Not only was his form good but the contest against Jean-Michel SAIVE went true to form.

The first occasion that Timo BOLL and Jean-Michel SAIVE met in a World Ranking event was in October 1999 in a European League Super Division match when Germany played Belgium; on that occasion the latter won in three games but since that date all eight encounters have gone the way of the German.

History
History might well have been in favour of BOLL but SAIVE is always a prodigious opponent. The contest in Gothenburg was the closest between the two players since BOLL had prevailed in seven games in the quarter-final stage of the European Top Twelve in February 2003.

In 2004 they had met on three occasions and on each occasion BOLL surrendered only one game in securing victory. In March in the Liebherr World Team Championships in Doha (where matches were best of five games) BOLL had succeeded in four games whilst in the quarter-finals of the Menís Singles event at the Volkswagen Open Germany in 2004 and in the final of the Austrian Open in Wels two weeks later, it had been a five games success for the German.

Speed
In Gothenburg SAIVE won the first game 11-8 but BOLL using his speed and fast attacks to good effect won the next three games before SAIVE recovered to clinch the fifth game 11-6. The sixth game saw Jean-Michel SAIVE fight for survival in typical style but equally BOLL showed strength of character to withstand the Belgianís onslaught.

On two occasion SAIVE had a chance to win the sixth game and take matters to a deciding seventh, he held game point at 10-9, then again at 11-10 but could not convert the advantage, Timo BOLL eventually won 13-11 to take the title, his second on the ITTF Pro Tour in 2005 having won in September in Japan when he beat the Olympic champion, RYU Seung Min in the final.

ITTF Pro Tour
It was for Jean-Michel SAIVE the ninth time in his career that he had reached the final of a Menís Singles event on the ITTF Pro Tour and it was the sixth time that he had finished in the runners up spot; meanwhile, for BOLL the success ratio on finals on the ITTF Pro Tour is somewhat different. The Liebherr Swedish Open was the eleventh time in his career that he had reached a Menís Singles final on the ITTF Pro Tour and it was the eighth time that he had emerged the champion.

The next major international target for both players is the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals in December; both will be there and both will be looking to go one step better than in the past. The furthest for either player has reached is the semi-finals. BOLL exited at the penultimate stage in 2002 and 2004 whilst SAIVE was a semi-finalist in 1997 and 2001.

Fuzhou in southern China is the venue for the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals which start on Friday 9th December 2005 and conclude on Sunday 11th December 2005.

Source: ITTF
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