by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In 2002, he had come close, on that occasion when the tournament was staged in Gangneung, he had been beaten in the final by Austria’s Werner Schlager; now 15 years later, he made no mistake.
Renowned for the heavy amount of topspin imparted on the ball from the forehand immediately after the service, Timo Boll adjusted to the new plastic ball; he proved as irresistible as when the spherical object of a celluloid nature was used.
“I have the feeling, I´m gaining back my skills and abilities but I still feel I need to improve on some physical details such as the footwork. It won’t be easy playing at home at the forthcoming World Championships but I will feel more electrified than other events. I think it´s very important to have a good start and then I can improve as the tournament goes on. I can feel a big difference with the new ball. I think it´s better than the previous and you are able to play more rallies. It seems kind of chalky and has no grip on the rubber.” Timo Boll
Notably in Incheon Timo Boll was competing in no less than his 27th ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles final, it is the 19th time he has emerged success and thus he moves ever closer to the now retired Chinese duo of Ma Lin and Wang Liqin on the all-time list.
Ma Lin, in fourth place, emerged successful on 20 occasions; Wang Liqin one more, he won 21 times. They trail Vladimir Samsonsov of Belarus who has 26 ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles titles to his name; three ahead of China’s Ma Long who has emerged 23 times the champion.
Success for Timo Boll and it is a return to winning ways; his most recent ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title was seven years ago. In July 2010, he beat the host nation’s Jun Mizutani to secure the top prize in the city of Kobe.
Defeat for Patrick Franziska but two runners up spots, earlier the Men’s Doubles silver medallist in partnership with Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, he could reflect on a very successful tournament.
Furthermore, he started and finished the tournament shaking hands with the same player; four days earlier in Patrick Franziska’s opening contest in the qualification tournament, the advisor sitting courtside had been a certain Timo Boll.