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Table Tennis News and Reviews » Blog Archive » Qatar Open - Ma Long Suffers Early Exit, Timo Boll Survives Second Round Scare

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  • 21Feb

    China’s 20 year old Ma Long, devastating in Macao in December 2008
    at the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals and scintillating at the Salwa
    Cup Kuwait Open last week, experienced a rare occurrence on Thursday
    19th February 2009.

    Defeat!

    Seeded no.2, he was beaten in the second round of the Men’s Singles event at the Qatar Open by his compatriot, Xu Xin.
    It was a contest that saw topspin exchanges of the highest quality and a concluding stroke of the most sublime skill.

    Xu Xin won 12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8.

    Minimal Time
    The
    duel was fought at the highest level with the counter topspin skills of
    Xu Xin very much in evidence as the left handed penholder gave Ma Long
    minimal time to execute his all conquering forehand topspins.

    In
    many ways, Xu Xin is in the mode of Wang Hao with his topspin strokes
    from the backhand using the reverse side of the racket being
    particularly effective against the no.2 seed. It was not necessarily
    the power of the stroke that caused the problems for his compatriot; it
    was the early timing which minimised reaction time.

    Seventh Game
    Playing
    with confidence, Xu Xin established an 8-7 lead in the seventh game, he
    elected to call "Time Out"; it gave him a chance to compose his
    thoughts and the break proved a wise move.

    He progressed to lead 10-8 with Ma Long to serve.

    Advantage of Penhold Grip
    Accepted
    by the world’s leading table tennis experts, the penhold grip is
    superior to the shakehands grip when playing over the table near the
    net; the flexible wrist enables a short return or a wide angle to be
    created.

    Xu Xin demonstrated this advantage to the full.

    Ma
    Long served short to the middle of the table, in the circumstances a
    wise move; he looked to execute his ferocious forehand topspin. Xu Xin
    flicked the ball wide to the Ma Long forehand, the no.2 seed was left
    flat footed; he could only stand and stare.

    World Ranking
    Against
    the odds Xu Xin had won; he stands currently at no.71 on the ITTF Men’s
    World Rankings, whilst Ma Long is at no.3; however he is on the move.

    A semi-finalist in the Men’s Singles event at the Slovenian Open in January, he appeared at no.115 when the year started.

    Close Call
    Defeat
    for the no.2 seed and almost farewell to the no.3 seed; Germany’s Timo
    Boll trailed compatriot Zoltan Fejer-Konnerth by three games to one and
    was level at 8-all in the seventh game.

    A long rally ended with
    Boll playing a point winning fast forehand topspin; the only problem
    for Boll was that it didn’t win the point. The no.3 seed finished
    virtually sitting in the assistant umpire’s chair and could only watch
    in incredulity as somehow Fejer-Konnerth put bat on ball and executed
    an outrageous backhand block.

    Efficient
    However,
    that was the last point Fejer-Konnerth won. Boll played with utmost
    efficiency, Fejer-Konnerth took risks attacking from the backhand.
    Efficiency prevailed.

    Success for Boll and also for the player
    seeded one place lower; China’s Wang Liqin beat Russia’s Fedor Kuzmin
    whilst top seed, Ma Lin also from China, ended the hopes of Slovenia’s
    Bojan Tokic.

    Defeat for Tokic but great credit to him; he
    received his prize money and immediately gave it all to Sandra Paovic
    Soldarity Fund to help the Croatian in her hour of need.

    A magnificent gesture, an example to all.

    Source: www.ittf.com

    Posted by ttfan @ 2:43 pm

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