May 22, 2003

Cai Zhenhua: Men's Singles The Most Contested Event

The Chinese table-tennis team played well on the 4th day of competition. They have already won the mixed doubles title, and they placed 3 pairs into the men's and women's doubles semifinal round, respectively. Coach Cai Zhenhua gave his observations at a post-match press conference today.

"After a good performance yesterday, our team executed to its true level today. We have already clinched the mixed doubles title, and we did well on all the other events. Our only regret is that Guo Yan lost her match in women's singles. The main reason behind her loss was that she was not experienced enough, she did not prepare well enough, and her tactics were not good enough. Especially in the rallying phase, where she gave her opponents many chances to start the attack and therefore put herself in a passive position. When the game score was tied at 3-3, she could not finish the opponent off, and there was very regretful. In the other events, the players displayed their strong fighting spirits and play up to their normal levels. We hope that they will continue to play with great spirits tomorrow.

"The tournament is now half completed. Among the men, the Europeans, with the exception of Boll, stayed at the same level technically. After the new rules were adopted, they have not mastered those rules as well as the Asians. Relatively speaking, the Chinese are stronger than the Europeans. Looking at the women competition, the Asians enjoy a definite advantage. Although Europeans like Boros and Jie Schopp have shown an ability to challenge the Asians and the Chinese. But overall, we have a certain advantage.

"Looking ahead, the men's singles will be the most fiercely contested event. Players like Samsonov, Chuan and Schlager are still in the running for the gold medal, although Chuan has to get past Korean Joo tomorrow.

"On the Ma Lin -Tasaki match: the two players are a little alike. They are both aggressive, they play to control the opponent and they emphasize the 3rd ball attack. Ma had a tough battle, but winning defintiely beats losing. If there was a problem with Ma Lin, it is his over-aggression in the first-3-balls. He left an opening for his opponents, and his opponent played well to control the tempo. But in general, Ma's condition and emotions will not be negatively affected by today's tough match", Cai said.

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