Athens 2004

August 17, 2004

Round of 32 Results

Wang Liqin defeats Trinko Keen

Wang Liqin won his first Olympics match today, beating 33-year-old Dutch player Trinko Keen 4-1 to be the first Chinese player advancing to the round of 16. In the beginning of the match, Wang was not very used to the court and the air currents. In game one, Wang, who was making his first appearance, faced some hurdles and fell behind 3-10. He took the next 3 points, but still lost that game 6-11. Coach Liu Guoliang immediately adjusted Wang's tactics, asking him to take one step back, and focus on mid-distance attacks. After this change, Wang easily won the second game 11-1. He followed that with 11-8, 11-4 and 11-2 game wins to seal the victory.

After the match, Liu said that overall Wang played quite well. "Better than expected", he said. "Because this is a first match, Wang did not play at his best level. He was a little tight. Also, the court was much bigger than the training halls. There was more resistance due to the air currents, and he lost the first game".

Wang felt that other than the conditions of the playing court, his nervousness, his mental attitude and his mistakes in tactics led to the loss of game one. "In the beginning, I did not receive serves well. My first-3-ball attacks were not decisive", he said. On the playing court, Wang said that since he only practiced twice here, he was not very used to the table. Some of his teammates said the tables were a little slippery, but this does not bother Wang. In the next match, Wang will face Worlds runner-up Joo Se Hyuk of Korea.

Wang Hao defeats Rosskopf

Wang Hao beat Rosskopf, a 4-time Olympian, 4-1, on the heels of Wang Liqin's victory.

The match between two players with great backhands from two generations started at 12 noon local time. Rosskopf, world-ranked number 29, was considered as having the best backhand in the world, and has been in every Olympics since 1992, winner of a silver medal in doubles and a bronze medal in singles. Wang Hao, a right-handed penholder, uses the revolutionary reverse backhand in loops and counters, and often frustrates opponents with his unusual backhand techniques. At the Swedish Open in 2001, Rosskopf defeated the young Wang Hao 4-1, but at the German Open in 2003,  Wang Hao beat Rosskopf 4-0.

Although this is the first match for Wang, he did not appear tight, and won game one 11-5. In game 2, the very experienced German attacked agressively, and led 10-7. Undaunted, Wang scored 5 points in a row to win the game at 12-10. Then Wang Hao took game 3 11-5. In game 4, Rosskopf changed tactics and varied his 3rd-ball attacks. He played even more aggressively, and led again at 10-7. Wang pulled even, but still lost that game 11-13.

Coach Liu Guoliang later said, "Rosskopf changed his tactics and successfully attacked, causing Wang to lose confidence. Wang was able to adjust to those changes later, but did not do it quick enough".

In game 5, Wang did not give his opponents any chance, winning it 11-6.

Ma Lin easily beats Primorac

Ma's Olympic debut was a success. The Chinese star player easily beat 5-time Olympian Primorac 4-1, and advanced to the round of 16.

After the match, Liu Guoliang expressed his satisfaction. "Our three players did well today, and each player did better than the previous one. Ma had the strongest opponent, but he got into playing shape the fastest. He played a relaxed match,  and had good tactics and techniques".

While the other Europeans, Boll, Schlager and Waldner among them, were still fighting hard, Ma had already concluded the match at 11-5, 11-3, 11-3, 9-11 and 11-5.

Ma did not agree with Liu's "relaxed" description. He felt that it might have looked like an easy match, but he was under some pressure. His key to winning is "don't think too much".

Like Wang Liqin, Ma complained about the vast court and the air currents. "Because of the air movement, the ball trajectories in long counter-loops sometimes were unexpected".

Primorac said that Ma was too strong. He had great serves, very fast changes in the lines of attack, and used unusual placements. Ma took risks, and Primorac felt that he had almost no opportunities to keep up any kind of continuous attacks.

Chung's notes: In the next round, Wang Liqin plays Joo, Wang Hao plays Lin Ju (DOM), a surprising winner over Saive, and Ma Lin faces Waldner. The other match-ups are Boll vs Schlager, Samsonov vs Leung Chu Yan (who upset Maze), Ko Lai Chak vs Persson, Ryu Seung Min vs Chiang Peng-Lung, and Oh Sang Eun vs Chuan Chih-Yuan. Lin Ju is a 24-year-old player from Fujian, China, with a defensive playing style.

Women's Results

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