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“Majestic“ Lee Hyung-Taik

Posted January. 10, 2002 09:27,   


There is a saying, `Deeper the valley, higher the hill`.

Lee Hyung-Taik (26, Samsung Securities), who was born in a remote countryside in Hwingsung, Kangwondo, might have known this saying well.

He experienced deepening agony last year as he dropped down from world-rank number 60 to below 100, but he started off well this year by entering the quarterfinals in the ATP Tour Tournaments.

He stormed through the first match by demolishing the world`s ex- No.1, Carlos Moya of Spain, and Lee continued on his quest by beating world`s 82nd, Karol Kucera of Slovakia, who once was the 6th, in the second match of Adidas International (total prizes of 400,000 dollars) Tournament on the 9th in Sydney, Australia.

The score was 2 - 0 (6-1. 6-2), and Lee entered his 4th Tour quarterfinals ever.

Having a splendid start in the new year, Lee is expected to have confirmed the possibility that he would enter the top 50 in the world. His own words explain that he became tougher from experiencing past disappointments, and also more confident in his offensive playing style. The future plan is to continue rising in rank above the 100th line by winning the upcoming Tour and Challengers matches.

Lee stated, "I was able to get over several pinches and gain control over my ball. I feel a good rebound despite the heavy pressure I had in the beginning."

Lee demonstrated powerful strokes and confident offense, and won 5 games in a row with the first set game score 1-1. He gave away the first game in the second set, but soon triumphed with 5-2. Even previous back pain from 3 preliminary and 1 entry matches could not stop him from fighting on, even going into Chinatown for acupuncture treatments.

For the semifinals, Lee will fight against Andy Roddick of U.S.A. who beat Bohdan Ulihrach of the Czech Republic by 2-0. He had never beat Roddick, with whom he played 2 matches. Especially in last May, he has a painful memory of kneeling before him at the U.S. Clay Court Championship in the finals. After his pro- debut in year 2000, Roddick earned his fame for serves at a speed over 220- kilometers, putting him in the world`s 15th place.

"Roddick has powerful serves and he is definitely not easy, but I`ll do my best to take revenge." assured Lee.

He missed the first major tournament in the season, the Australian Open, in order to participate in the quarterfinals.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com