Lady Luck Deserts Second Seed, Ko Lai Chak Takes his Chances
No.33, both with regards to age and world ranking, Hong Kong’s Ko Lai Chak caused the biggest upset in the second series of matches in the group stage of Men’s Singles event the Evergrande Real Estate Asian Cup in Guangzhou on Friday 26th March 2010.
In six games he beat the host nation’s Zhang Jike, the no.2 seed and currently standing at no.8 on the ITTF Men’s World Ranking.
Believing there was nothing to lose, Ko Lai Chak played freely at the start of the contest to win the first three games; Zhang Jike won the next two but he could not force a seventh game decider.
“I’m very angry”, confessed Zhang Jike who when he plays always gives the impression of being in total control of his emotions; one of the world’s most fluent players.
“He had 26 nets or edges”, seethed Zhang Jike; that is a quite incredible statistic.
Now interview a player and they can tell you they were winning 6-4 and then lost the next four points or vice versa but the remember the number of nets and edges against you; well Zhang Jike must be the “Memory Man”!
“I had nothing to lose”, smiled a delighted Ko Lai Chak. “The Hong Kong team has no great goals at this tournament; I was under no pressure to win, Zhang Jike was under pressure.”
Most certainly, Ko Lai Chak was in a positive frame of mind.
“I have a poor record against him, I’ve never beaten him before” continued Ko Lai Chak. “He’s been with the Chinese team on the ITTF Pro Tour in Qatar, Kuwait and Germany, so perhaps I’m in a better condition; oh and one other thing, I was lucky!”
I think Ko Lai Chak just keep that quiet if you are with 100 miles of Zhang Jike!
Defeat for Zhang Jike but success for his compatriot 20 year old Xu Xin and it was revenge; at the Qatar Open in February, Xu Xin had departed proceedings in the first round of the Men’s Singles event. He lost to Seo Hyun Deok.
“He’s just a little younger than me, so I’m sure we are going to meet many times in the future”, said Xu Xin. “We both played in Germany and we’ve both just arrived back in Asia; perhaps I’ve adjusted better and certainly I have learnt from the match in Qatar when I lost.”
Return stronger from defeat they say; Xu Xin, 17 months the senior of Seo Hyun Deok, did just that.
Seo Hyun Deok receives service well and he has a strong backhand”, continued Xu Xin. “He attacks very quickly after the service; in Qatar I was too passive.”
Also, Xu Xin had a new coach on duty.
“Xiao Zhan was watching Zhang Jike, so Ma Lin came to help me”, explained Xu Xin. “He’s also a penholder, he understands how I play, he’s a really good coach, he’s learnt from Liu Guoliang.”
Well, that a line of argument one can keep following, Liu Guoliang learnt from Cai Zhenhua who learnt from Zhang Xuelin who learnt from? Eventually we’ll get to Confucius.
Ma Lin Successful
Success for Xu Xin and also for top seed and colleague, Ma Lin. He beat Singapore’s Yang Zi in five games to continue his unbeaten run.
Similarly Kim Min Seok of Korea continued his unblemished progress; he beat Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An, whilst for Singapore’s Gao Nin, who had lost to Kim Min Seok in in his opening duel, it was a return to winning ways.
Portent for Commonwealth Games
He beat India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta; a contest which could be a portent for the future; later in the year, the Commonwealth Games will be staged in India. Gao Ning and Sharath Kamal Achanta are major protagonists for honours.