Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fang Bo upsets all to win Austrian Open World Tour Table Tennis title

Photo: Fang Bo courtesy of the ITTF
Fang Bo threw the World rankings into the bin and beat much more famous names to wrest the Austrian Open Table Tennis title at Wels, Austria.

In the finals, he beat Hao Shuai 11-8, 9-11, 2-11, 11-6, 11-8, and 11-8.

Fang made his intentions clear when he won the first set and made a good start in the contest, eventually winning it 11-8. The highlight of this game was Fang Bo's return of service - backhand open with topspin even from the right hand corner. Hao Shuai retaliated by winning the second 11-9, thus tying the match at 1-1. Shuai seemed to nail home the point that he is the more experienced by hammering the youngster 11-2. However, the determined Fang Bo, who has created waves in the last 2-3 years, did not give up, he won the next set 11-6 and tied the match 2-2, thus promising exciting fare in the games to come.

Shuai battled and tried to make a mark in the fifth game, but by now Fang Bo had not only overcome nerves in such an important final as the World Tour Table Tennis tournament, but he also found a consistent rhythm. Fang won it 11-8. Just when it appeared that Hao Shuai will make a mighty attempt to tie the match at 3-3, Fang played with maturity to end the match at 4-2 and not let it slip into a decider, where experience would have been a factor.

Incidentally, Hao Shuai, who is one of the main players in the second rung Chinese line-up, beat giant killer Taku Takakiwa effortlessly, 4-0. Takakiwa had beaten World and Olympic Champion Zhang Jike in the previous round.

Fang Bo had beaten seasoned Chuang Chih-Yuan in five sets for a facile victory in the semi-finals   12-10,11-6,11-13,11-3,11-5. Fang lost just one set, that too in a deuce game against the top 10 ranked Chuang.