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Wang Hao wins Olympic final rematch to lead China for 15th Asian team title
Updated: 2005-08-29 15:55

World number four Wang Hao outlasted South Korea's top male paddler Ryu Seung Min 3-2 to win an Olympic men's singles final rematch here on Monday and lead the Chinese squad to win three all to claim their 15th team title at the 17th Asian table tennis championships.

Wang hao wins Olympic final rematch
South Korea's Ryu Seung-min serves the ball to China's Wang Hao during the men's table tennis team event final at the 17th Asian Table Tennis Championships August 29, 2005. Wang defeated Ryu 3-2. The Chinese team won 3-0 and took first place at the event. [Reuters]
This is the first title for China at the biennial tournament slated from August 27 to September 2, since the Chinese women lost their semi-final match-up to the hosts late on Sunday to miss the Asian final for the first time in 13 years.

Right ahead of the men's team final showdown, Hong Kong of China played a perfect 3-0 clean-up against South Korea to be marked as the best Asian women's team again in 13 years away from their first Asian title in 1992.

"Chinese men players have shown their table tennis, thought not their best in the team event, while the female paddlers should have prepared better for their semi-final against South Korea," commented Li Furong, President of the Asian Table Tennis Union ( ATTU), after the men's team final.

"Wang Hao is the one that I appreciate most as he showed sturdy mind while being down 2-0 in the opening game of men's team event, " he added.

The Olympic silver medalist Wang Hao, who had been beaten 4-2 by Ryu last August to miss the only gold Chinese table tennis team had lost in Athens, came back from two sets down and won the last three sets in a row to dispose the arch-rival Korean 11-13, 11-13, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8.

Ryu, ranked 8th in the world, forehanded the ball far over the table on the first match point to give up the hosts' first game of the team event final.

The most even first set saw Wang wasted two set points in grip before being overtaken 12-11 by Ryu on a lucky ball and striking the ball down under the net to lose 13-11, which nearly set the tone of the game.

Leading with a slim advantage at 3-2, Wang Hao was given no chance early in the second set as Ryu collected five straight points to lead 7-3.

The 22-year-old Chinese bounced back in attacking to tie 10-all but failed to match the powerful forehand attacks from the 23-year-old Ryu, who has been regarded the new sweetheart from South Korea after winning an Olympic gold against the Chinese a year ago.

Leading as much as 5-0, Wang Hao made a storming comeback at the third set and rallied for an easy 11-3 win in the third set before running up at 5-1 at the fourth.

While Ryu cut the deficit to 7-5 making use of several return errors from Wang, the Chinese new generation held on to 8-5 with a placement shot and to level the match 2-2 with a 11-5 win.

Though trailing by 6-5, Wang steered up with confidence in the decider and usurped the lead with 9-6 before holding two match points on 10-7.

The next games saw much easier wins from world number one Wang Liqin and the 21-year-old sensation Chen Qi as the world title holder Wang overcame Korean veteran Oh Sang Eun 11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8 and Chen beat Lee Jung Woo 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 13-11.

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