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Wang Hao wins World Cup, retains title

China’s Wang Hao beat Germany’s Timo Boll to clinch gold at the Liebherr Men’s World Cup in Liège on Sunday 18th September 2008, thus reversing the verdict of three years earlier and retaining the title he had won one year ago in Barcelona.

Wang Hao won 11-8, 11-3, 14-16, 11-7, 11-9.

In 2005, on the one previous occasion that the tournament had been staged in the Country Hall Ethias in Liège, the two had met in the final with Timo Boll being the winner on that occasion.

It was the ninth time that the two had met in world ranking events, it was the sixth time that Wang Hao had won; meanwhile, in the Liebherr Men’s World Cup it was their third meeting.

Timo Boll had famously won in 2005 but one year ago in the semi-finals, Wang Hao had prevailed in Barcelona.

Attacked Backhand
Wang Hao captured the first game, as he has done in the past he directed his opening attacks into the body of the German thus minimising the opportunities for Timo Boll to unleash his fast forehand topspin; the stroke which had earlier in the day caused the downfall of Ma Long.

The first game under his belt Wang Hao played with confidence in the second game; he continued the policy of attacking the Timo Boll backhand to dominate proceedings.

A two games lead was established.

Third Game
The third game was a closer affair with the two players level at 5-all; Wang Hao established a two points lead but at 9-all it was parity and at 10-9 it was game point to Timo Boll.

Wang Hao saved the game point and saved two more whilst also having two game points himself; however, on Timo Boll’s fourth game point in all it was success for Germany.

The match deficit was reduced to one game.

The reverse stung Wang Hao into fast action; he won the first three points of the fourth game.

Timo Boll reduced the arrears to 7-8 but won no more points as Wang Hao played error free to move into a three games to one lead.

Fifth Game
Against Ma Long earlier in the day Timo Boll had recovered from a three games to one deficit; the question was could he do it again?

The German gave his best but Wang Hao scented gold, he was not to be denied; attacking over the table he was lethal; Timo Boll directed his forehand topspin towards the body of Wang Hao whenever possible.

Fast counter topspin rallies, desperate lobbed defence by Timo Boll but above all consistent attacking play by Wang Hao was the order of the day.

Championship Point
At 10-8 he had match point, championship point; he rushed with his favoured backhand topspin over the table, Timo Boll saved the point but he could not do it again.

Wang Hao won the next point playing deftly near the net.

The Chinese star jumped for joy, as twelve months earlier in Barcelona he was the victor; the World No.1 was the World Cup winner; it was gold for Wang Hao.

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