SHANGHAI, May 3(Xinhuanet)-- Table tennis legend Jan-Ove Waldner from Sweden was beaten in four straight sets by the newly crowned European champion Vladimir Samsonov here on Tuesday.
The defeat, which was not processed in a calm way as it seemed, sent the all-time great home as Waldner and his partner Jorgen Persson had lost 4-1 to Romanians Adrian Crisan and Vasile Florea in the men's doubles Monday to crash out of the world table tennis championships.
Waldner, 39, the"Grand Slam" winner of world championships, Olympic s and World Cup titles, lost his third round singles match11-4, 15-13, 12-10, 11-7 Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm not satisfied I won 4-0 against J. O. Waldner. Of course I'm satisfied that I solved it really well today, playing very compactly, and also I was very lucky in the second and last sets,"said the the 29-year-old Samsonov from Belarus.
"Some one may think it's 4-0 win, so it's easy, but it wasn't,"he added."I'm very happy now that I entered the next phrase."
"I think the second set is important...It looks like he had some problems with the humidity."
"A few days again when I played for the first time I met some difficulties because there is wind in the hall, but today I don't have any problems," Samsonov commented on the air-conditioning in the Shanghai Gymnasium.
Waldner didn't feel regret for losing the game, saying that Samsonov played very well and that playing in the main hall was anhonor for him though he have to meet Samsonov because the unideal draw due to his 21st rank.
In his 20-year-long legendary in the sport, Waldner had many times misled the world to believe that he was aging and fading outbefore he won big again.
Waldner won the singles crown at the 1997 world championships but lost to 19-year-old Chinese Ma Lin in the 1999 semi-finals. Hereturned to a convincing semi-final victory over talented Chinese Liu Guoliang in the 2000 Olympic Games and stretched in-form Chinese Kong Linghui to five games before losing the final.
He was crushed in straight games by Samsonov in 2001 worlds, and joined the first round casualties two years later in Paris.
Last August in Athens, however, the Swede edged out China's second seed Ma Lin in the singles and made it to the semis before losing to South Korean Ryu Seung Min, who later claimed the title by beating China's promising star Wang Hao.
Though Waldner was beaten to an underdog position during the game against Samsonov on Tuesday, audience in the stands always made extra efforts for the Swede and applauded for every point he gained.
"I know he's very popular in China, but it's quite OK. If I win a few world championships and Olympic Games, people will support me too."
Waldner declined to give a hint about his retirement from international competitions though rumors had been around for months that the Shanghai would be the last for the Swede.
"I'm asked everywhere about the date of my retirement," said Waldner, who had been suspected to have retired after last year's Olympic Games in Athens."I don't know, I've not decided yet, not this afternoon, maybe tomorrow, next week or three months later. I'll take a rest firstly and think about it later."
"It will be a pity for me if he retires," said Samsonov.
"For me, he's the greatest table tennis player ever, and of course he's very talented player and on the other hand he works very very hard all his life."
"You could never know what happens next time, and he's capable to do anything he want with the ball," said Samsonov when asked what he foresees if he meets Waldner next time. Enditem