Oh Sangeun makes it three in a month
Two men’s singles titles secured on the ITTF Pro Tour (now ITTF World Tour) in the space of three weeks, having won in Suncheon and Santiago; at the Liebherr 2005 United States Open in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday 10th July, Korea Republic’s Oh Sangeun made it three in four weeks.
In addition, he emulated the efforts achieved in Santiago; once again partnering colleague, Lee Jungwoo, to men’s doubles gold.
Furthermore, he repeated the success he had enjoyed in Shanghai at the Volkswagen 48th World Championships in May; once again he ended the progress of Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus.
Following a quarter-final success for Vladimir Samsonov against Sweden’s Jens Lundqvist (13-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9) and for Oh Sangeun when facing Austria’s Chen Weixing (11-9, 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8), the two met in the penultimate round.
The first game went to Vladimir Samsonov, the second to Oh Sangeun; in the third, the man from Belarus took an early lead but the Korean levelled at 6-all and using his backhand topspin to good effect conceded just two more points. The same score-line; once again in favour of the Korean, was repeated in the fourth game.
Oh Sangeun was one game away from a place in the final. Facing defeat, Samsonov played positively at the start of the fifth and established an 8-3 lead but Oh Sangeun responded and reduced the arrears to 8-7. Samsonov won the next point but that was his last. Oh Sangeun won four points in a row, thus he recorded a five games win (8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9) and was in the final.
The top half of the draw in the men's singles had progressed as anticipated. In the opposite half, it had been very different; surprise semi-finalists being Lee Jungwoo and Denmark’s Martin Monrad. Thee Dane experienced problems time and again when returning the Lee Jungwoo service. Lee Jungwoo duly booked a semi-final place in five games (11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-1, 13-11).
In the final Oh Sangeun held the aces; being from the same country they were no strangers to each other and although Oh Sangeun experienced some problems in the early part of the contest, he was well aware of the tactics required.
"I had trouble with his serve in the first two games”, said Oh Sangeun. "Generally, the strategy is simple, you can't give him chances to topspin at full power, you have to play wide and vary your shots so he's never comfortable.”
The opening two games were close with Lee Jungwoo winning the first and Oh Sangeun the second, both decided by the minimal two point margin. However, from that point onwards Oh Sangeun exerted control over proceedings; he duly won the next three games with greater comfort (11-13, 16-14, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5) and thus secured his third ITTF Pro Tour men's singles title in a space of one month.
Earlier in the day, partnering Lee Jung Woo, he had won the men's doubles title; their toughest match en route being in the quarter-final duel against Rodolphe Despres and Christophe Legout, the contest going the full seven games distance (11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 3-11, 9-11, 11-4).
A tough hurdle negotiated, at the semi-final stage, the Koreans accounted for Russia’s Fedor Kuzmin and Alexei Smirnov (11-7, 11-7, 12-10, 11-9), prior to securing the title at the final expense of colleagues Lee Chulseung and Yoo Changjae (11-6, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5).
Success for Oh Sangeun as in Chile the previous week; it was the same for colleague, Cho Eonrae.
Once again he emerged the under 21 men’s singles winner. At the semi-final stage he beat Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej (12-10, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 3-11, 7-11, 11-9), before overcoming compatriot Kim Taehoon (11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7) to reserve the step of the podium.