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  • 24Jan

    In January 2009 it nearly happened at the Slovenian Open and later in the same year in June, it nearly happened at the Japan Open.

    In January 2010, it did happen and according to my failing memory, it is the first time it has ever happened, since the ITTF Pro Tour started in the English market town of Kettering in 1996.

    What happened?

    Lee Sang Su, the history maker  Photo By: An Sung Ho

    A player who had been required to compete in the qualification stage of a Men’s Singles event on the ITTF Pro Tour finished the event standing proudly on the top step of the medal podium. Top Prize
    Korea’s 19 year old, Lee Sang Su created history in Velenje on Saturday 23rd January 2010 when he overcame Sweden’s Jens Lundqvist in the Men’s Singles final at the Petrol Slovenian Open to clinch the top prize and a cheque for US$16,000.

    Zhang Chao
    One year earlier China’s Zhang Chao had emerged successful in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event in Slovenia and had progressed to the final where he was beaten by colleague, Hao Shuai.

    However, the fact that Zhang Chao was a qualifier needs to be put into perspective; in November 2006 he occupied the no.67 place on the ITTF Men’s World Rankings but had forfeited his place owing to a lack of international appearances.

    Had he maintained that position in January 2009 he would not have been required to compete in the qualification stage one year ago at the Slovenian Open.

    German Close
    In the final he was beaten in five games and never really looked as though he would create history; however, when Patrick Baum met Korea’s Oh Sang Eun in the Men’s Singles final in Japan, the German came very close to etching his place in the history books.

    Oh Sang Eun won a seven games duel.

    Back Seat
    A fine effort by Patrick Baum but when compared with the exploits of Lee Sang Su, it rather takes a back seat.

    In Japan, Patrick Baum was the highest world ranked player on duty in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event as opposed to Lee Sang Su who was the 20th in Slovenia!

    Add to that number 32 direct entrants and you could formulate the slightly spurious argument that Lee Sang Su started matters as the 52nd best player in the Men’s Singles event!

    Record Matches
    Furthermore, not only has Lee Sang Su set a record of being the first qualifier to win an ITTF Pro Tour Men’s Singles title; he played the most matches ever to reach the final and eventually clinch gold.

    In addition to playing two qualification round matches, Lee Sang Su had to compete in a preliminary round to qualify for the main draw and then win six matches to clinch the title.

    A total of nine matches; no ITTF Pro Tour champion has played more to win an event!

    Cao Zhen
    It was by some considerable distance the best performance in the career of Lee Sang Su, who had never previously ventured beyond the third round of an ITTF Pro Tour Men’s Singles event and he can take confidence from the efforts of China’s Cao Zhen.

    In 2003, as a qualifier, she won the Women’s Singles title at the Malaysian Open in Johor Baru; on her very next appearance at the Panasonic China Open in Wuxi at the Panasonic China Open, she won again.

    There is a challenge for Lee Sang Su, can he be the male counterpart of Cao Zhen.

    More Korean Gold
    Success for Lee Sang Su and also there was success for his colleague Kim Min Seok in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event.

    In an all Korean final, Kim Min Seok clinched gold beating Seo Hyun Deok. He won 11-7, 12-14, 10-12, 12-10, 16-14, 11-5 to once again leave his compatriot in second place.

    At the Polish Open in November 2009, Seo Hyun Deok had been beaten in the final by China’s Shang Kun.

    Brazil Final
    Meanwhile in the Men’s Singles event, for 30 year old Jens Lundqvist it was his second appearance in a Men’s Singles final on the ITTF Pro Tour and it was the second time he has had to settle for the silver medal.

    In 2003, he lost to Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan in the final of the Brazilian Open in Rio de Janeiro.

    Reporting from the tournament and referring to the fact that the Swede had been beaten in the final and had yet to win a Men’s Singles ITTF Pro Tour title, Elisa Christophe wrote; “Jens Lundqvist will have to wait”.

    The wait goes on.

    Source: ittf.com

    Posted by ttfan @ 6:03 am

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