Defensive star wins Korean Open

Men's Singles Final

Damien Eloi (France) v Joo Se Hyuk (Korea)
Joo Se Hyuk, the first defender since Ding Song in 1997 to win a Men's Singles ITTF Pro Tour title
The fast attacking play of Damien Eloi against the defensive skills of Joo Se Hyuk, a player who also has a devastating forehand attack.

It was the first time the two players had ever met and it was the first time that Joo Se Hyuk had reached a Men's Singles final on the ITTF Pro Tour.

Eloi attacked the backhand of Joo Se Hyuk at every opportunity, fast quick-fire topspins.He went into a 5-2 lead and then extended the lead to 8-2 before erring with an attempted forehand topspin.

First blood to France.

In the second game Eloi continued the policy of attacking the backhand of Joo Se Hyuk early in the rally with fast topspin. The question was: Could Joo Se Hyuk withstand the barrage? Would Eloi make mistakes as he attacked relentlessly? Could Joo Se Hyuk unleash his own dynamic forehand?

The answer, early in the second game, in the second game was in favour of the Frenchman, he went ahead 5-2. Joo Se Hyuk recoverde to 6-4. The next two points were shared with Joo Se Hyuk defending desperately.

Eloi continuing his attacking strategy went ahead 8-5, then with luck on his side 9-6 as a pushed return clipped the top of the net a trickled over.

The next two points were shared and at 10-7 the Frenchman had game point. Joo Se Hyuk saved all three with a combination of outstanding defensive play and tremendous forehand topspins.

The momentum of the game had swung, he won the next two points, 12-10. It was one game all.

Eloi had certainly missed a chance.

The third game followed the pattern of those vthat had gone before. Joo Se Hyuk solid in defence, looking for the chance to attack with his forehand. The Korean gradually asserted his authority, the two were level at 5-all but from that point onwards Joo Se Hyuk was in control. He surendered no further points. He won the game 11-5.

Stung by the reverse Eloi cam out in determined mood in the fourth game, he went ahead 4-1. Joo Se Hyuk, following his service with a forehand attack whenever possible and using his forehand attack more and more won the next eight points!

The Korean was in the ascendancy, he won the game 11-5.

The Frenchman was finding it diffucult to pentrate the defence of Joo Se Hyuk and the Korean was winning the forehand topspin rallies.

In the fifth game, Damien Eloi made the better start, he went ahead 2-0 but maintaining the momentum was a tough task. Joo Se Hyuk levelled at 3-all with a superb forehand topspin wide to the Eloi forehand.

At 7-5 the signs wre evident, Eloi was clutching at straws the crowd was on the Korean's side but Eloi is a man of character. He recovered to 7-6 but gaining parity was not to be.

Joo Se Hyuk moved ahead 8-6 and then 9-6. An error from Eloi, 10-6.

The Frenchman saved the first match point with a stroke of fortune. He didn't save the second.

Joo Se Hyuk was the champion and a defender had won a Men's Singles event on the ITTF Pro Tour for the first time that China's Ding Song had won in Japan in 1996 and in Australia in 1997.

Source: ITTF
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