Olympic Champion Nears Next Round
ATLANTA (AP) _ Jan-Ove Waldner, the defending Olympic table tennis champion from Sweden, was virtually assured of advancing after a straight-set victory Friday over South Korea’s Lee Chul-seung.
Waldner defeated Lee 21-11, 21-19 for his second victory in the four-player group. The top player from each of 16 groups advances.
The other players in Waldner’s group have at least one loss apiece. Even if he lost his final match later Friday against Yugoslavia’s Ilija Lupulesku, Waldner would appear to own the tie-breaker.
The last U.S. table tennis hopes were eliminated in women’s singles, despite a victory for one American and a strong showing by the other.
Lily Yip of Metuchen, N.J., defeated Monica Doti of Brazil, 21-10, 21-10, but Liu Wei of China rallied to defeat Amy Feng of Wheaton, Md., 16-21, 21-8, 21-15.
Yip overpowered Doti, winning points on her serve 74 percent of the time and slamming 14 drives for winners.
Feng was strong in the first set but Liu took advantage of forehand errors in the final two sets to win.
But neither American finished on top of her group and thus failed to advance to the second round, which starts Saturday.
Waldner is one of the most popular athletes in Sweden, winning his country’s only gold medal in the 1992 Olympics. He also owns a complete set of medals from the world championships: a gold in 1989, a silver in 1991 and a bronze in 1993.
China’s Kong Linghui, last year’s world champion, defeated Toshio Tasaki of Japan 21-9, 21-14, to continue undefeated in his group. Wang Tao, third in the world last year, beat Dany Tsiokas of Greece, 21-19, 21-11 to stay unbeaten in his division.
France’s Jean-Philippe Gatien, the 1993 world champion, beat Kyong Choe of North Korea, 21-15, 21-8. Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive, the runner-up to Gatien in 1993, edged Romania’s Vasile Florea, 21-19, 21-18.