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Wang Hao downs Rye in opener
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Chinese World Cup winner Wang Hao extended his winning record over Olympic champion Rye Seung-min on Friday night, beating the South Korean 4-1 in the first-round duel at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Pro Tour Grand Finals in Beijing.

After losing the first set 9-11, Wang soon gained the upper hand to take the second set 11-1 and then the rest of the match 11-7, 11-9, 11-3.

"Wang played very well tonight, and he is now the world's best player," the Athens Olympic champion Rye said after the match. "I am not in my best form now, and I will try to focus on my preparations for next year's Games."

Wang boasts a brilliant head-to-head winning record over Rye. The two have met 15 times at the international level, and Rye has only won once, at the Athens Olympic Games men's singles final.

"We both played quite well, but since I have beat him so many times, especially at this year's World Cup, I have strong psychological advantage over him," Wang said.

World champion Wang Liqin found his form, outplaying compatriot Hao Shuai 4-2 in the first round clash. Wang had been troubled by his poor performance at this year's Pro Tour tournaments, where he had no title on his belt.

In the quarters, Wang will face another Chinese young gun, Chen Qi, who has won two Pro Tour titles this year.

(China Daily December 15, 2007)

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