Table Tennis: Matsushita's Open

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND'S top two players, the former World Cup winner Chen Xinhua and the former European Top 12 champion Desmond Douglas, were unexpectedly beaten by Japan's Yuji Matsushita who went on to win the Cleveland Five Star Open at the Thornaby Pavilion, Middlesbrough, yesterday, writes James Leigh.

Douglas, the title-holder, was beaten 21-19, 21-18 in the quarter-final by the man he beat in straight games in the team event the day before; Chen, the top seed, foundered 21-16, 21-7 in the semi-final; then Alan Cooke provided a trio of English victims for Matsushita when he was beaten

21-17, 21-17 in the final.

The fierceness of the pen- grip player's attacking, more potent than when he arrived in this country a week ago, places a different perspective upon the next two matches of the England v Japan series, at Grantham tonight and Bletchley tomorrow . Japan comfortably lost the first two matches last week.

Another Japanese player, Koyama Chire, won the women's singles by beating a former compatriot Tong Feiming in the final. Koyama, better known as He Zhili from China, who won the world title in 1987, has since married a coach in Osaka, but looked not far short of her old best in winning 21-14, 21-13.