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INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS NEWS

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9-2-07
Panasonic Open (China)
Gold for Wang Hao as Reigning World Champion Falls Yet Again

Twenty-three year old Wang Hao won the Menís Singles title at the Panasonic China Open in Shenzhen on Sunday 2nd September 2007 beating the reigning World champion, Wang Liqin in six games at the final hurdle.

Wang Hao, who had beaten top seed, Ma Lin in the semis accounted for Wang Liqin by the margin of 14-12, 13-15, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6.

Once again in 2007 it was sadness for Wang Liqin. He is the most successful male player ever on the ITTF Pro Tour, yet in 2007 the top step of the Menís Singles medal podium remains elusive.

Record
He has won the Menís Singles crown at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals on three occasions whilst in open international tournaments on the ITTF Pro Tour he has succeeded no less than twenty times.

In Shenzhen there was to be no twenty-first birthday party; the scenario of so near yet so far continued.

It was the second time in the year that he has finished in runners up spot; in February he lost in the final to Ma Lin whilst at the Croatian Open it was a third round exit and a semi-final farewell at the Salwa Cup Kuwait Open, the Volkswagen Open China and the Volkswagen Open China.

Seventh
Meanwhile, for Wang Hao, victory in Shenzhen was the seventh of his career in ITTF Pro Tour tournaments with two victories in the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals now making the total nine.

ITTF Pro Tour Titles
Wang Hao won his first Menís Singles title on the ITTF Pro Tour in 2002 when he succeeded at the Egypt Open; he won again later in the same year when he was victorious in the Netherlands and the following year he made a splendid start by winning in Croatia.

In 2004 he was crowned Menís Singles champion at the Greek Open and in 2006 he was victorious at the Liebherr Slovenia Open, a title he successfully defended one year later at the Gorenje Slovenian Open.

The two victories in the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals came in 2003 and in 2006.

Sixteenth Meeting
The encounter in Shenzhen was the sixteenth time that Wang Liqin and Wang Hao had met in a World Ranking event with Wang Liqin having won eleven of the duels.

Recent Meetings
However, if we look at recent times then it is Wang Hao who is in the ascendancy.

Wang Liqin won ten of their first eleven meetings, the only defeat being in the semi-finals of the Menís Singles event at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.

However, since December 2006, the record of Wang Hao against Wang Liqin has been much better.

Wang Hao won when the duo met in the quarter-final stage of the Menís Singles event in the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals, the following week in the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions; Wang Liqin gained revenge but the next two meetings both went the way of Wang Hao.

He won at the semi-final stage of the Menís Singles event at both the Volkswagen Open Japan and Volkswagen Open China.

In Shenzhen he completed the hat-trick. Twenty-three year old Wang Hao won the Menís Singles title at the Panasonic China Open in Shenzhen on Sunday 2nd September 2007 beating the reigning World champion, Wang Liqin in six games at the final hurdle.

Wang Hao, who had beaten top seed, Ma Lin in the semis accounted for Wang Liqin by the margin of 14-12, 13-15, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6.

Once again in 2007 it was sadness for Wang Liqin. He is the most successful male player ever on the ITTF Pro Tour, yet in 2007 the top step of the Menís Singles medal podium remains elusive.

Record
He has won the Menís Singles crown at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals on three occasions whilst in open international tournaments on the ITTF Pro Tour he has succeeded no less than twenty times.

In Shenzhen there was to be no twenty-first birthday party; the scenario of so near yet so far continued.

It was the second time in the year that he has finished in runners up spot; in February he lost in the final to Ma Lin whilst at the Croatian Open it was a third round exit and a semi-final farewell at the Salwa Cup Kuwait Open, the Volkswagen Open China and the Volkswagen Open China.

Seventh
Meanwhile, for Wang Hao, victory in Shenzhen was the seventh of his career in ITTF Pro Tour tournaments with two victories in the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals now making the total nine.

ITTF Pro Tour Titles
Wang Hao won his first Menís Singles title on the ITTF Pro Tour in 2002 when he succeeded at the Egypt Open; he won again later in the same year when he was victorious in the Netherlands and the following year he made a splendid start by winning in Croatia.

In 2004 he was crowned Menís Singles champion at the Greek Open and in 2006 he was victorious at the Liebherr Slovenia Open, a title he successfully defended one year later at the Gorenje Slovenian Open.

The two victories in the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals came in 2003 and in 2006.

Sixteenth Meeting
The encounter in Shenzhen was the sixteenth time that Wang Liqin and Wang Hao had met in a World Ranking event with Wang Liqin having won eleven of the duels.

Recent Meetings
However, if we look at recent times then it is Wang Hao who is in the ascendancy.

Wang Liqin won ten of their first eleven meetings, the only defeat being in the semi-finals of the Menís Singles event at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.

However, since December 2006, the record of Wang Hao against Wang Liqin has been much better.

Wang Hao won when the duo met in the quarter-final stage of the Menís Singles event in the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals, the following week in the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions; Wang Liqin gained revenge but the next two meetings both went the way of Wang Hao.

He won at the semi-final stage of the Menís Singles event at both the Volkswagen Open Japan and Volkswagen Open China.

In Shenzhen he completed the hat-trick.

Wang Hao the Men's Singles champion at the Panasonic China Open

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