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Chinese Coach: Fairly Good Debut for Wang Hao
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China's young gun Wang Hao has had a "fairly good Olympic debut", head coach of the Chinese men's table tennis team Liu Guoliang said in Athens on Tuesday afternoon.


In a third round encounter of the men's singles in the table tennis tournament of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games Tuesday, the 21-year-old Wang, now ranked 4th in the world, beat German veteran Jorg Rosskopf 4-1 following a quite tense match.


Wang was 6-10 behind twice in the second and fourth games, but he played with incredible composure and excellence to draw the scores 10-10. While winning the second 12-10, he lost the fourth 11-13.


However, both Wang and Rosskopf agreed that the outcome of the second game was "of critical importance" to the whole match, as Wang had taken the first game 11-5.


"If I lost in the second, then there would be a jigsaw battle and it would have been impossible for me to win by 4-1," said Wang after the match.


"I had a very good chance in the second game, if I can change the score to 1-1, I think the match will become real close," said Rosskopf. But he conceded that Wang "had played very well at that moment".


The Chinese coach Liu, men's singles champion in Atlanta 1996, said that for Wang, a not-so-experienced first-time Olympian, the opening match in the tournament was "fairly good" and "quite satisfactory".


"I think he showed his real strength in the match, though still a bit nervous. He didn't give up any point easily and he got his due reward," said Liu. "He has played better than I expected."


Wang, widely regarded as the anchor of the Chinese male paddlers at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will also compete in men's doubles at this Games, pairing up with Sydney singles champion, Chinese veteran Kong Linghui.


(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2004)


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