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Wang Hao wins Men's World Cup

ITTF Press Release -

An Olympic Men’s Singles final returned to Barcelona on Sunday 14th October 2007; in 1992 Sweden’s Jan-Ove Waldner had beaten Jean-Philippe Gatien to clinch precious gold; twelve years later in 2004 in the Galatsi Stadium in Athens, Korea’s Ryu Seung Min faced China’s Wang Hao.

In the final of the Liebherr Men’s World Cup, the latter confrontation was re-enacted, when Ryu Seung Min and Wang Hao met in the contest to determine the player who would stand on the highest step of the medal podium. Three years ago, the verdict had gone the way of Ryu Seung Min; three years later it went in favour of Wang Hao.

The number one seed won 14-12, 11-3, 11-8, 1-7.

Opening Exchanges
In the Olympic final nerves had overtaken Wang Hao whilst for Ryu Seung Min he had revelled in the big occasion; once again in Barcelona it was the big occasion.

The opening game saw Ryu Seung Min establish an 8-6 lead; Wang Hao took the next three points before the Korean recovered. It was 9-all, with Ryu Seung Min serving the next two points were shared, then it was advantage Wang Hao, the Korean levelled and then pinned to the ropes captured the next point as Wang Hao totally missed a forehand kill.

Again Ryu Seung Min was back against the surrounds on the next point, only this time Wang didn’t miss. It was 12-all; then attacking the Ryu Seung Min backhand with spin not speed it was first game to Wang Hao.

He captured the next two points.

Attacked Body
Directing the attacks into the body of Ryu Seung Min had reaped dividends in the opening game and the ploy did so in the early stages of the second. Wang Hao played with pin point accuracy, concentrate on the backhand of the Korean and when the chance arose unleash a devastating forehand wide to his opponent’s forehand.

Wang Hao moved into an impressive 7-2 lead; a gap had been established, he never relinquished the lead; the game was won 11-3 in no time at all.

The winning of a close opening game and then the domination of the second game had given Wang Hao an injection of confidence.

At the start of the third game he attacked strongly but so did Korea’s version of “Speedy Gonzales”; Ryu Seung Min ran and ran in order to play his favoured dynamic forehand. He met with success; he went ahead 6-4.

In the rallies he was matching Wang Hao point for point, blow for blow. He maintained the two point advantage at 7-5 but blocking securely from the backhand, Wang Hao levelled at 7-all and then attacking fiercely from the forehand moved ahead 8-7. Ryu Seung Min called “Time Out”.

The pause was in Korean vain; Wang Hao won three of the next four points, the last with a fantastic reaction block that left the Korean stunned.

The World number one was three games to nil ahead.

Wang Hao was now highly motivated. Every point was recognised vocally. In the fourth game he went ahead 5-3; Ryu Seung Min levelled at 5-all. He was never level again.

The top seed asserted his authority, he moved ahead 8-5, 9-6 and concluded matters at 11-7.

Third Time
The runner up in 2005 and 2006; Wang Hao, at the third time of asking in a Liebherr Men’s World Cup final, was the winner, the player ranked number one in the world had justified his top billing.

Wang Hao (CHN) bt Timo Boll (GER) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4
Ryu Sung Min (KOR) bt Wang Liqin (CHN) 11-7, 4-11, 11-6, 11-3, 4-11, 11-3

Third Place:
Wang Liqin (CHN) bt Timo Boll (GER) 11-8, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9

Wang Hao (CHN) bt Ryu Seung Min (KOR) 14-12, 11-3, 11-8, 11-7

Photo: Wang Hao the runner up in 2005 and 2006, the champion in 2007
Courtesy of ITTF

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