The Heilongjiang Super League Club, led by Kong Kinghui, has apparently obtained the services of Swedish star Jorgen Persson for at least part of the 2002 season. In talking with reporters, Kong said that his club finalized negotations with Persson during the Qatar Open. From April 24, when the 4th round will be played, through May 15, when the 10th round will be played, Persson will be in China and playing 7 singles matches for Kong's club.
The Sichuan club is also aggressively recruiting foreign players. Due to the league's decision to not allow Ryu Seung Min and Oh Sang Eun to join it, the Sichuan had been going after Kim Taek Soo. The CTTA apparently believed that since Ryu and Oh will play for the Korean team in the upcoming Asian Games, it would be be advisable for those two players to be actively playing against Chinese players and therefore improve their skills. At the last minute, Kim's club decided not to let him join Sichuan, much to his disappointment. The Sichuan club is trying to attract Waldner, Samsonov and Rosskopf to join its rosters, but its chances are not good, at this time.
There are massive personnel changes in the clubs. Ma Lin and Liu Guoliang have both left the PLA-ICBC team. Ma has joined teh powerful Luneng club which has Liu Guozheng, Guo Keli and Zhang Yong on its roster. Liu Guoliang has joined the Shaanxi Guoliang club, and his teammates will include Yan Sen and Leung Chu Yan. The Guangdong club will now have Qin Zhijian and Ko Lai Chak, while Shanghai still has Wang Liqin but will be without Feng Zhe.
Overall, there will be 4 Hong Kong players in the Super League.
In the women's teams, the foreign players include Gao Jun and An Konishi, both on the Shanghai club. Yang Ying and Li Ju will still play for the Jiangsu team.
Thanks to the Chinese TT fans on the www.fishtt.com, a lot of great video footage has been uploaded to various ftp sites. Due to slow speeds and congestion, some of these downlaods could take a very long time. I strongly recommed the following video files for downloading:
(a) Wang Hao against Samsonov at the Egypt Open. In this match you can clearly see that Samsonov was surprised, and overplayed by the young Wang Hao. Wang showed an unusually calm posture in playing against one of the world's top players. His reverse backhands are a delight to watch.
(b) Wang Hao against Saive at the Egypt Open. Saive was thoroughly frustrated in this match. Wang Hao showed his great backhand, not only as a transitioning tool, but as a scoring weapon. He can exchange loops on his backhand as well as Saive. Again, his coolness is extraordinary. Only 18 years old, he has already played some outstanding clutch matches in China in the last year. With his good looks, he could be the next Kong Linghui, as far as media power goes.
(c) Liu Guozheng vs Kim Taek Soo: Game 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.. The two played the 16th and the last match of the International Challenge Series in February. Liu apparently had recovered from his nagging shoulder injury, and was showing excellent form. His backhand had improved a lot, and it was amazing how he thoroughly controlled Kim with it. Very impressive showing by Liu, and a clear sign that he is still a great player, despite recent difficulties. The International Series, by the way, will not continue this year.
(I would like to upload these files on a faster site, but unfortuantely I do not have the disk space. If anyone has lots of web space, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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