Timo Boll wins China Open

Beats Wang Liqin in final

Germany’s Timo Boll won the Men’s Singles title at the Panasonic China Open in Guangzhou on Sunday 17th September 2006 beating the host nation’s Wang Liqin in the final.

In the contest between the number one and number two ranked male players in the world it was the latter who prevailed.

Timo Boll won in six games: 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8.

It was the tenth time that they had met in a World Ranking event and the German’s victory tipped the scales in his favour.

He has now won six of the duels; perhaps somewhat surprisingly, considering they are the top two ranked players in the world, the confrontation in Guangzhou was the first time they have met in the final of an event where world ranking points were at stake.

The contest was a duel between the speed of Boll’s incessant attacks the counter top spinning ability of Wang Liqin; it was speed that won the day.

“I lost but I don't think I played very badly”, said a thoughtful Wang Liqin. “It’s just I adapted too slowly today, Boll made many variations during the match, I didn't get used to the changes quickly enough.”

Adapting to different situations is vital, Boll adapted, he was the champion and true to his character he was gracious in victory. “Wang Liqin must be tired mentally and physically, I can feel that, I experienced the Chinese Super League, so I have a clear picture how tough the matches are”, said Timo Boll. “The crowd here was so good; playing here is just like playing at home.”

The reason Boll received such good support is that he played in the Chinese Super League in 2006 and as everywhere he plays he is popular; the manner in which he conducts himself makes him a favourite with the crowd.

Boll played for Zheijang Haining Hongxiang, the club being in Jiangsu Province which borders Shanghai; he played alongside Liu Guozheng, Li Ping, Li Hu and Chiang Peng-Lung. The club finished in fourth place.

Playing in the Chinese Super League is exacting, the journeys are long and the matches of an incredibly high level.

Only six points separated the top and bottom teams at the end of the year. Shanxi Yinhe represented by Ma Lin, Hao Shuai, Yang Zi, Ko Lai Chak, Guo Tao, Gao Lize finished as winners whilst two teams shared bottom place: Sichuan Quanxing who had Ryu Seung Min, Joo Se Hyuk, Adrian Crisan and Jean-Michel Saive in their ranks plus Beijing Topnew who lined up with Ma Long, Ding Song, Hou Yingchao and Yan Sen!

“I have many fans here”, said Timo Boll who has gained the respect of many Chinese supporters as a result of his efforts against their leading players. Furthermore, the respect is mutual. “I respect Wang Liqin and I think he is the number one player in the world; to beat him makes me feel so good and excited, today is a big day for me.

The victory at the Panasonic China Open was Timo Boll’s first of the year on the ITTF Pro Tour and he seems to be making a habit of coming good in the autumn.

In 2005 he won his first ITTF Pro Tour title of the year in September at the Volkswagen Open Japan, he then progressed to reach the semi-finals in Germany, he won in Sweden, qualified for the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals and duly prevailed in that event.

I wonder, will history repeat itself? Well, if Boll maintains the form shown in Guangzhou then surely there is only one answer and they do say history repeats itsef.

Source: ITTF
Image: Timo Boll, the Men's Singles champion at the Panasonic China Open

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