Wang Hao Master-class

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British League

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The top seed Wang Hao (China)  produced some superb play to beat World no. 25 Chen Weixing (Austria) with some comfort in the last 16 of the Mens Singles. Wang Hao played every shot in the book (and  a few of his own invention) as he stormed home 11-7, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4. This wasn’t the lethargic looking Wang Hao of yesterday, but the brilliant player who won the World Singles title in 2009.

Wang Hao’s Quarter-Final opponent will be Oh Sang Eun (Korea). The World no. 13 needed all seven games to get the better of Korean team-mate Jung Young Sik (the World no. 38) after falling two games behind. Oh Sang Eun won 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4.

The second Quarter-Final will feature the last two Olympic Champions. Ryu Seung Ming (Korea) produced another impressive display beating World no. 39 Par Gerell (Sweden) (4-1). After losing the first game he closed out what was a tight match 6-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9. His opponent needs no introduction – 2008 Olympic Champion Ma Lin. The 2009 English Open Runner-Up Ma Lin beat Emmanuel Lebesson (France) 4-1 (11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8).

The 2001 English Open Champion and three times World Singles Champion Wang Liqin (China) made it through to the Quarter-Final 4-0. There were numerous stunning rallies but it was  Liqin, the master of the “counter-topspin” who was always in control against Russian World no. 75 – Igor Rubtsov. Wang won 11-8, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6.

His Quarter-Final promises to be an absolute cracker. He will face the all-action Xu Xin (World no. nine), whose athleticism and movement are quite breath-taking. Xu Xin had to work hard and display his full range of away from the table shots as he beat World no. 34 Yoon Jae Young (4-1) 11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 13-11.

Chen Qi, the World no. 14 became the fifth Chinese player to book his Quarter-Final appearance in the Mens Singles. Better known as a Doubles Specialist (with two World and one Olympic titles to his name) he required all seven games to get the better of World no. 40 Adrien Mattenet (France). Chen Qi triumphed 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9. Visitors to the 2009 English Open will remember Mattenet, he lost a first round thriller 4-3 to Ma Lin.

Chen Qi’s opponent in the Quarter-Final will be Gao Ning (Singapore) the World no. 24. Gao Ning stopped yesterday’s Giant-killer Thomas Konecny (Czech / World ranked n o. 134) in his tracks : 11-9, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8.

Images courtesy tabletennisphotos.com

Steve Kerns

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