TMS 2005 Chinese Taipei Open: Lee Jungwoo last of the dynasty
Quietly he sat almost unnoticed, as he guided his Korea Republic colleague, An Jaehyun to a most unexpected bronze medal at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest; however 14 years earlier he was very much the centre of attention.
One wondered what he may achieve; one wondered if he would keep tradition alive.
On Sunday 15th June 2005, Lee Jungwoo won the men’s singles title at the TMS Chinese Taipei Open in Taipei City.
A left handed pen-holder in true Korean style, a devastating forehand and fleet of foot, he had a most worthy adviser, a player of very much the same style, Yoo Namkyu, the 1988 Olympic Games men’s singles gold medallist. Likewise, he was a left handed dynamic pen-holder.
Alas for whatever reason Lee Jungwoo never progressed to the heights of his coach; also he was the last of the style. After Lee Jungwoo, all the leading Koreans were shake-hands grip players.
In Taipei City, he was extended the full seven games distance twice en route to the final and both times by players from the host association. The first occasion was in the second round when he overcame Chiang Peng-Lung, the second at the penultimate stage when he defeated the top seed, Chuang Chih-Yuan.
At the final hurdle, his adversary was Chen Weixing. He had progressed to the semifinals with wins over France's Dany Lo, Chinese Taipei's Wu Chih-Chi and Hong Kong's Ko Lai Chak. In the semi-final round he had faced the previous week's winner in Suncheon, Oh Sangeun and it seemed he was destined for a quick exit.
Oh Sangeun won the first two games with some ease but in the next three he made errors and never established a decisive lead. Chen Weixing won all three by the narrowest of margins and was one game away from victory. Oh Sangeun recovered and won the sixth but in the seventh the Austrian went ahead 5-0, then 10-2 and secured victory on his second match point.
No doubt the success of Chen Weixing over Oh Sangeun suited Lee Jungwoo. One week earlier Lee Jungwoo had beaten Chen Weixing before losing to Oh Sangeun, thus even though the Austrian was the higher seeded player the Korean started as favourite.
Lee Jungwoo won the first game, lost the second and won the third 11-9; from that point on he never looked back. He established an early lead in each of the next two games; that gave him confidence; with his forehand in devastating mode he dominated proceedings to secure victory.
A first for Lee Jungwoo; rather different for Hong Kong’s Ko Lai Chak and Li Ching, they won on the ITTF Pro Tour (now ITTF World Tour) for the ninth time. They secured the men’s doubles beating the host’s Chiang Peng-Lung and Chuang Chih-Yuan in the penultimate round, prior to claiming the title at the expense of Japan’s Seiya Kishikawa and Ryusuke Sakamoto.
Success for Korea Republic and Hong Kong; in the under 21 men’s singles it was gold for Singapore. In the final, Yang Zi beat Lim Jaehyun, like Lee Jungwoo from the Korea Republic but a right handed shake-hands grip player. It was to some extent back down to earth for Lim Jaehyun, the previous week he had reached the men’s singles final in Suncheon.