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Ryu Seung-min Breaks “First Round Jinx” at World Table Tennis Championships

Ryu Seung-min Breaks “First Round Jinx” at World Table Tennis Championships

Posted May. 02, 2005 23:56,   


Ryu Seung-min (Samsung Life Insurance) blew away his first round elimination jinx at the World Table Tennis Championships men’s singles event.

In the first round (round of 128) of the World Table Tennis Championships held in Shanghai Gymnasium, China, Ryu beat North Korea’s Ahn Chul Young, 4-1, winning the tournaments first inter-Korea game and advancing to the second round of 64.

In the four times that Ryu has played in the world championship, he was eliminated in the first round. From the 1997 Manchester Championship to the 2001 Osaka Championship, he failed to advance to the second round every single time.

The right-handed Ryu will play against the winner of the match between Tiago Apolonia (Poland) and Danny Heister (Netherlands), a perplexing lefty, for a ticket to the third round.

Ranked sixth in the world, Ryu seemed tense in the first South-North Korea duel of this championship and was trailing Ahn Chul Young (world ranking: 276), who uses both sides of the racket, by giving up four straight points in the first set. However, Ryu tied the score 5-5 with a powerful forehand drive and off-tempo fast attacks, and won the set 11-9 and the initiative by smashing back-to-back overpowering drives to the corners of the table.

Ryu won three sets, but lost the fourth, 9-11 due to consecutive attack errors, but won the game by winning the fifth set.

Meanwhile, in the mixed doubles event, Ryu teamed up with Kim Hye-hyun (Korean Airlines) and dramatically advanced to the third round, by coming from behind after being three sets down off of Japan’s duo of Mizutani Jun and Umemura Aya and winning four straight sets.

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com