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Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
At Last

One fact was absolutely certain before the Women’s Doubles final began at the Liebherr Slovenian Open in Velenje on Sunday 22nd January 2005; whoever won, would as a pair collect their first ever Women’s Doubles title on the ITTF Pro Tour.

Both pairs had come close before, very close but neither duo had crossed the finishing line.
GUO Yue & LI Xiaoxia, winners of the Women's Doubles title at the Liebherr Slovenian Open 2006
In Velenje it was GUO Yue and LI Xiaoxia who opened their account. They beat the Singapore duo of SUN Bei Bei and WANG Yue Gu in the final 7-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4,11-4.

Previous Titles
GUO Yue has won Women’s Doubles titles on the ITTF Pro Tour but not with LI Xiaoxia, the victories have always come with NIU Jianfeng. However, GUO Yue and LI Xiaoxia are no strangers to each other when it comes to doubles.

In 2001 they won the Junior Girls’ Doubles title at the Asian Youth Championships and in the same year finished in runners up spot in the Pyongyang Invitation tournament in North Korea, whilst in 2003 they reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s Doubles event at the Asian Championships.

On the ITTF Pro Tour they were regular partners in 2002, they played together in the Women’s Doubles events in Egypt, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Denmark; quite incredibly on all five occasions they finished as runners up!

Started in June 2005
Meanwhile, SUN Bei Bei and WANG Yue Gu first played together internationally at the Volkswagen Open Korea in 2005, they finished in runners up spot and the following week in Chinese Taipei it was the same scenario, second place. In late June they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Fort Lauderdale and reached the semi-final stage of the Liebherr US Open, whilst back in Asia in September, at the Volkswagen Open China, they once again reached the final but once again had to settle for runners up spot.

No titles but a series of consistent performances, thus qualification for the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals where a semi-final place, as it had been a few weeks earlier at the Pyongyang Tournament in North Korea, was their lot.

Mature
In Velenje SUN Bei Bei and WANG Yue Gu once again stumbled at the final hurdle, it was their younger adversaries from China prevailed.

“Three years ago we were not so mature”, said seventeen year old Li Xiaoxia. “Now we are more mature, our techniques are better and psychologically we are stronger.” Watching GUO Yue and LI Xiaoxia play you often forget how young they are, both are still eligible play in the junior ranks of table tennis,

“Also, I think we know each other better now and having been runners up five times before on the ITTF Pro Tour it was about time we won!” added LI Xiaoxia. “We had learnt from the number of times we had been runners up!”

The pain of a possible second place was soon dispelled; from the start of the fourth game they assumed control. “Playing with GUO Yue is very good, her speed is a very important factor in our partnership”, continued LI Xiaoxia. “I think I’m quite good at spinning the ball, so speed and spin combine to make a very effective partnership,”

Successful
Most certainly it was a very effective partnership and for LI Xiaoxia it had been a relatively successful tournament. She had lost in the semi-finals of the Women’s Singles to the eventual champion GUO Yue and she had a Women’s Doubles title to her credit.

“It was a reasonably good tournament for me, several of the world’s best players were not here and I was able to try some new techniques that I’ve been trying in training with the coaches,” she said. “I hope I can do better next week.”

Perfection
The comment underlines LI Xiaoxia’s strive for perfection and her attitude is to be applauded. The vast majority of female players on duty in Slovenia would be delighted to have reached the penultimate stage in the Women’s Singles event and clinched gold in the Women’s Doubles, for Li Xiaoxia it was acceptable not wonderful.

She strives for success, she is a splendid player to watch and further titles on the ITTF Pro Tour in 2005 will no doubt come her way, the best of LI Xiaoxia is yet to come.


WANG Yue Gu and SUN Bei Bei, the runners up in the Women’s Doubles event at the Liebherr Slovenian Open. (Photo by Ziva Vbric)
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Archive
Date Title
1/27/2007 Titles Retained in Velenje
1/27/2007 Wang Hao Retains Men’s Singles Title in Devastating Style at Gorenje Slovenian Open
1/27/2007 Guo Yue Succeeds in Velenje and thus Repeats the Success of Twelve Months Earlier
1/27/2007 Chen Qi and Wang Liqin Add to an Already Impressive Collection
1/27/2007 Beijing Pair Capture Women’s Doubles Crown in Velenje
1/27/2007 Ryu Seung Min and Wang Hao Reach Final of Men's Singles Event in Velenje
1/27/2007 Former Champion Beats Current Champion to Reach Final in Velenje
1/26/2007 Olympic Champion Ends World Champion’s Hopes
1/26/2007 Lee Jin Kwon and Daniela Dodean Win Under 21 Titles at Gorenje Slovenian Open
1/26/2007 Olympic Champions Beats World Champion at Gorenje Slovenian Open
1/26/2007 China Guaranteed of Complete Medal Haul in the Women’s Singles Event in Velenje
1/26/2007 No Repeat of One Week Earlier, Chinese Stars Assert Authority in Third Round
1/26/2007 Slovenian and Croatian Combination Cause Men’s Doubles Sensation in Velenje
1/26/2007 Lin Ling Ends the Progress of Tie Yana in all Hong Kong Third Round Duel
1/25/2007 Further Disappointments for Singapore as Wang Yu Gue Departs in Round Two
1/25/2007 Leading Players Progress in the Men’s Singles at the Gorenje Slovenian Open
1/25/2007 Singaporean Sadness
1/25/2007 Polished Polish Performances as Czech Checks Seeds Progress in Velenje
1/25/2007 A Strong Performance Secures Victory for Roko Tosic at the Gorenje Slovenian Open
1/25/2007 Fourth Seed Beaten in Opening Round of Women’s Singles Event in Velenje
1/25/2007 Iulia Necula Shines but for Tamara Boros it’s Unhappy Returns of the Day
1/24/2007 Defenders Maintain their Form to Progress through the Preliminary Round
1/24/2007 Students and Teacher Progress Successfully to the Main Draw
1/24/2007 Progress for the Next Generation in Velenje
1/24/2007 The Defender is Alive and Well and Succeeding in the Gorenje Slovenian Open
1/24/2007 Thomas Keinath Delivers to Maintain Interest in Gorenje Slovenian Open
1/24/2007 Lebesson and Skachkov Impress as Higher World Ranked Players Fall in Velenje
1/23/2007 Timea Varga, Jan Urbanek & Hiroshi Kittenberger Cause Surprises
1/23/2007 Hiroshi Kittenberger Succeeds by the Very Narrowest of Narrow Margins
1/23/2007 Jan Urbanek Creates a Rather Interesting Situation in Velenje
1/23/2007 Timea Varga, the Happiest Young Lady in the World of Table Tennis
1/23/2007 Close Matches Prevalent in Opening Men’s Singles Contests in Velenje
1/23/2007 Russian Quartet Makes Fine Start at Gorenje Slovenian Open
1/22/2007 Slovenian Open Grows and Grows
1/22/2007 The World’s Stars on Duty, the ITTF Pro Tour in Slovenia Continues to Grow
1/22/2007 Only_Chinese
1/3/2007 Limited number of entries in Slovenia
12/29/2006 Visa application
12/29/2006 Press Conference in Velenje
12/5/2006 Online entries in Slovenia
11/28/2006 Deadlines for Entries in Slovenia
11/28/2006 New features in the Pro Tour 2007
1/23/2006 Only_Chinese
1/22/2006 Only_Chinese
1/22/2006 Smooth Operators
1/22/2006 Seeding Justified
1/22/2006 Convincing
1/22/2006 Untried
1/22/2006 Titles For Top Seeds
1/22/2006 Only_Chinese
1/22/2006 At Last
1/22/2006 Only_Chinese
1/22/2006 Only_Chinese
1/22/2006 End Of The Road
1/22/2006 Defending Champion Defeated
1/22/2006 Shenzhen Avenged
1/22/2006 Only_Chinese
1/22/2006 Only_Chinese
1/22/2006 Only_Chinese
1/21/2006 Lucky Seven
1/21/2006 First ITTF Pro Tour Title
1/21/2006 Happy New Year
1/21/2006 Slovakian Gives Star Performance
1/21/2006 Immaculate Chinese
1/21/2006 Gregarious Guatemalan
1/21/2006 Telepathy
1/21/2006 Only_Chinese
1/21/2006 Chinese Show Their Class
1/21/2006 Control and Kill for Doubles Success
1/21/2006 Only_Chinese
1/21/2006 Only_Chinese
1/21/2006 Only_Chinese
1/20/2006 Martina Hits Great Wall
1/20/2006 Exit Third Seed
1/20/2006 Mental Attitude
1/20/2006 Physically Stronger
1/20/2006 Croatian Crashes
1/20/2006 So Near
1/20/2006 Fourth Seed Departs
1/20/2006 Safely Through
1/20/2006 Part of Life
1/20/2006 Regular Trio In Form
1/20/2006 Illness Forces Withdrawal
1/20/2006 Only_Chinese
1/20/2006 Well Qualified
1/20/2006 Only_Chinese
1/19/2006 Michel’s Lucky Day
1/18/2006 Unscathed
1/18/2006 A Dilemma
1/18/2006 An Upward Step and the Sun Shines
1/18/2006 Co-operation in Velenje
1/18/2006 Chinese Stars Start As Favourites
1/17/2006 Higher Status
1/12/2006 Only_Chinese
1/11/2006 Olympic & World Champion Withdraws
1/10/2006 Leading Ladies in Velenje
1/9/2006 No Major Targets
1/3/2006 Invitation to Umpires and AUT Course candidates for the 2006 LIEBHERR Slovenian Open
11/17/2005 US$ 100,000 in Velenje
11/14/2005 Deadlines for entries
11/14/2005 PRO TOUR 2006
1/15/2005 Opportunity Knocks For Russian
1/15/2005 A Good Start To The New Year
1/15/2005 Olympic Silver Medallists Assert Authority
1/15/2005 Women’s Doubles Title For Hong Kong
1/15/2005 First Time Finalists
1/15/2005 Past Results Repeated
1/14/2005 Singaporean Surprise
1/14/2005 The Coach Becomes A Player
1/14/2005 Success For Singapore
1/14/2005 Asian Ascendancy
1/14/2005 First Quarter-Final Appearance
1/13/2005 Disappointment For Host Nation
1/13/2005 Top Two Seeds Tested
1/13/2005 Opening Ceremony In Velenje
1/13/2005 Playing Consistently
1/13/2005 Sweet Dreams
1/13/2005 Wise Words
1/12/2005 Tough Day For Slovenia
1/12/2005 Wish You Were Here
1/12/2005 Welcome To Slovenia
1/12/2005 Hong Kong Favourites
1/11/2005 A First For Slovenia
11/22/2004 Deadlines for final entries
11/22/2004 ITTF Pro Tour 2005