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Table Tennis News and Reviews » Blog Archive » Qatar Open - Timo Boll Wins Dramatic Final to End Ma Lin¢s Record Hat-Trick Hopes

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  • 25Feb

    In the most dramatic of finals, Germany’s Timo Boll kept his nerve
    and maintained his concentration to win the Men’s Singles event at the
    Qatar Open on Saturday 21st February 2009, in what was arguably the
    very best match of the whole five days of action in the splendid
    surroundings of the Doha.

    He beat China’s Ma Lin 6-11, 11-8,
    11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 14-12 and in so doing prevented the Chinese
    star of achieving what no other player at the Qatar Open has ever
    achieved; winning the title three times in consecutive years.
    Ma Lin won in 2007 and 2008, he came so close in 2009; Croatia’s
    Zoran Primorac won in 1998, 2000 and 2001, the only player with three
    Men’s Singles wins at the Qatar Open. Furthermore, they were in
    succession; there was no tournament in 1999.

    Meanwhile, Ma Lin’s colleague Wang Liqin has won twice as has Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive.

    Furthermore
    if the year ends in nine then Boll would seem happy in Qatar; in 1999
    he won the Under 21 Men’s Singles crown at the Qatar Open.

    Serve and First Attack
    Ma
    Lin is the master of service and first attack; preventing him attacking
    quickly after the service was the biggest problem facing Timo Boll in
    the opening exchanges.

    At 6-all it was parity but then the next
    five points all went the way of Ma Lin; he was one game to the good, a
    confidence booster.

    Serve and First Attack
    The
    German responded, in the second game matters were level at 8-all; a
    scintillating rally and it was advantage Germany; then a Ma Lin error
    and Timo Boll led 10-8.

    A chance to level matters and it was seized with both hands by Timo Boll, he won the next point and the match score was level.

    Lip Service
    One game all, there was then a pause in play, the lower lip of Ma Lin needing attention, slightly bleeding.

    The pause was brief but it was Timo Boll who struck early in the third game. He went ahead 3-1.

    Ma
    Lin recovered to level at 5-all but then making full use of the table,
    spreading Ma Lin far and wide, often wide to the forehand, Boll went
    ahead 8-5; he continued the policy, his backhand unerring. He won the
    game 11-6 to move ahead by two games to one.

    Tactic
    Receiving
    service and being left handed, Timo Boll stood very much towards the
    forehand court to receive service; thus enabling him to see the contact
    point of racket on ball when the right handed Ma Lin served.

    Also,
    if Boll return the service into the body of Ma Lin, he was able to
    cover the forehand or backhand first attack of Ma Lin across the
    diagonal.

    The tactic worked well in the fourth game. Boll established a 9-5 lead and he maintained the lead. He won the game 11-7.

    Response
    Clever serving, outstanding over the table and near the net; Ma Lin responded in the fifth game.

    He established a 9-4 lead, he won the game 11-6, the match arrears were down to one game.

    Sixth Game
    There was nothing to choose between the two players at the start of the sixth games; they were level at 5-all.

    At
    that stage Ma Lin accelerated, he moved ahead 7-5, then extended the
    lead to 8-5 before Timo Boll replied. Ma Lin maintained the ascendancy
    to win the game 11-6. A deciding seventh game beckoned.

    Seventh Game
    The crown was encapsulated; Boll made the better start; on his own service he won the first two points.

    Ma
    Lin responded immediately but when the players changed ends it was Boll
    who had the advantage at 5-3; any fortune being on his side.

    The level of play rose, the next point saw Boll returning topspins from a sitting position; he led 5-4.

    Boll and the crowd drew breath; the German won the next point. Liu Guoliang, the Chinese coach on duty called "Time Out".

    The
    very next point saw a Ma Lin forehand topspin error but at 7-5 the gap
    was back to two points. The next two points were shared 8-6, then two
    points to Ma Lin. It was 8-all but Boll had two serves to come.

    He made the most use of the situation. He went ahead 10-8. Serving Ma Lin won the next point. Timo Boll called "Time Out".

    Ma
    Lin levelled, then a golden chance for Timo Boll he missed a
    comparatively simple forehand topspin by his standards, it was parity;
    then two match points for Ma Lin, both saved, then a third chance for
    Timo Boll.

    It was grasped; the verdict 14-12 in the seventh game to Timo Boll and a reversal of recent fortunes against Ma Lin.

    Boll Won First Meeting
    Previous
    results were very much in favour of Ma Lin; he had won 12 of their
    previous encounters in world ranking events; furthermore he had
    succeeded on the last three occasions that the duo had met.

    He
    won when they met for the very first time in September 1999 in the
    third round of proceedings at the Panasonic China Open but then had to
    wait until October 2005 when he succeeded at the semi-final stage in
    Liege at Liebherr Men’s World Cup.

    Recent Success for China
    It
    was a tournament he progressed to win beating Ma Lin’s colleague, Wang
    Hao, in the final; the win was clearly a confident booster. The German
    prevailed in their next encounter; he won in Bremen in April 2004 when
    the two met in the semi-final clash in the Liebherr World Team
    Championships.

    However, that was his last; Ma Lin has won the
    most recent four duels, the most recent being at the 2008 Beijing
    Olympic Games when he prevailed in four games (matches being best of
    five games) in the Men’s Team final.

    Drought Ended
    In Doha he ended the drought.

    Source: www.ittf.com

    Posted by ttfan @ 5:05 am

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