Table Tennis: Schläger ends Austria's wait for crown

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The Independent Online

Werner Schläger became the first Austrian in 66 years to win the World Championships when he beat South Korea's unseeded Joo Se-Hyuk 11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10 here.

The last Austrian world champion was Richard Bergmann, who clinched his title in 1937. This year was the first time since 1997 that China did not have a male finalist.

Schläger, seeded sixth, showed stunning resilience at key moments in his march to a first title. In his quarter-final against the defending champion Wang Liqin, he saved four match points before defeating the fourth-seeded Chinese player in seven sets.

In his semi-final against China's Kong Linghui, Schläger survived match point in the final set against the Olympic champion before triumphing 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 14-12. In the other semi-final, Joo, ranked 66th, prevented an all-European affair when he dominated Greece's ninth-seed Kalinikos Kreanga by a 11-5, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10 margin.

In Saturday's all-Chinese women's final, Wang Nan won her third straight world title. She overcame the top seed Zhang Yining in a seven-set thriller, winning 11-7, 11-8, 11-4, 5-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-5.