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Burov shocks Lundqvist in Qatar Open

MIR BASIT HUSSAIN

DOHA PLAYERS from Germany, Russia and France dominated the qualifying rounds of the GAC Group 2012 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open at the Women’s Indoor Hall, in Aspire Zone on Wednesday.

Day 2, however, saw an upset in the men’s singles played between Russia’s Viachaslev Burov and Sweden’s Jens Lundqvist when the former clinched the match.

Earlier in the day, Germany’s 25-year-old player Zhenqi Barthel continued her good form and finished on the top of her group.

However, to achieve the top spot she had to struggle with the bronze medallist of World Junior Championship, China’s Gu Yuting. Moreover, Yuting also won 2010 Youth Olympic Event in Singapore.

Against Barthel, the world No 63 was caught with guards off.

Barthel, after having lost the opener, recovered quickly and pulled off five games in a row to win by 6-11, 12-10, 11- 9, 11-7, 11-4.

“For the last six months I have worked very hard with my coach, Wang Zhi in Germany. We concentrated principally on improving the speed of my forehand. It was problem for me earlier but now with my performance, I am very much satisfied,” Barthel said.

However, it was Barthel’s backhand which did the trick for her as she was able to execute shots which made Yuting commit errors. She also admitted that she could feel the nervousness on the other side of the table too. “I was feeling nervous before the match but I could see that she (Yuting) was too nervous.

I really wanted to win and I am pleased that I came out victorious, “added Barthel.

This day also witnessed an upset as the 26-year-old Russian Burov defeated Sweden’s experienced Lundqvist in the men’s singles match-up. It was not an easy win for the Russian as he lost his first two games straight. However, once he started winning he didn’t stop till he registered an upset. Burov is currently ranked 232 in the world rankings and Lundqvist is world No. 55.

The Swede said that he was nervous and could have played better. “I don’t think I played my best. I am sure I can play better. I wanted to win but I was nervous before the match,” admitted Lundqvist.

On the other hand, Burov showed no signs of nervousness.

He felt that it was because of his tactics that he came out victorious. “Today I think my tactics were good.

He (Lundqvist) has a very strong forehand. Other than that he is easy to tackle. It was the first time I played against him,” said the Russian.

It was a good day for France also as the 19-yearold Quentin Robinot, who currently listed number 137th on the world rankings finished on the top of his group. He defeated Austria’s Stefan Fegerl (ranked 108) and Jersey’s Joshua Band and secured a place in the main draw.

Robinot was not able to join the celebrations in Hungary and Slovenia as he was not able to pull it off there. He said that he was low on confidence.

However, a win in Doha has recharged him again, for the good. “I think I was somewhat unlucky in Hungary and Slovenia. I lost confidence. I played Stefan last year also but I was still low and not in the best of my form. However, today I felt good, played well. He is a good played but I guess I had an edge over him today,” explained Robinot.

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Boonen in pole position for title

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