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Seeking One Step Higher, Jens Lundqvist and Elizabeta Samara, Top Seeds in Las Vegas
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Jens Lundqvist the top seed in the Men's Singles event in Las Vegas  Photo By: Xi Peng

07/01/2013        GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour, US Open, Americas Challenge Series (Click here to access this section)

One step short of the pinnacle on two occasions, Swedenís Jens Lundqvist and Romaniaís Elizabeta Samara are the top seeds in the respective Menís and Womenís Singles events at the forthcoming GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour United States Open.

An Americas Challenge Series tournament, proceedings commence in Las Vegas on Wednesday 3rd July and conclude on Saturday 6th July.

Both Jens Lundqvist and Elizabeta Samara have yet to secure a singles title on the ITTF World Tour, both have come near but have yet to cross the finishing line.

Runner Up in Rio de Janeiro and Velenje
Jens Lundqvist reached the Menís Singles final at the Brazil Open in Rio de Janeiro in 2003 and seven years later in Velenje at the Slovenia Open.

In the former he was beaten by Chinese Taipeiís Chiang Chih-Yuan at the final hurdle, in the latter by Koreaís Lee Sangsu.

It is a very similar situation for Elizabeta Samara. In 2010 she was the runner up in the Womenís Singles event at the Hungarian Open in Budaors, suffering defeat at the final hurdle in opposition to Hong Kongís Tie Yana; whilst more recently at the Polish Open in Poznan last November, she was beaten in the final by Chinaís Ding Ning.

Will the dice roll in their favour in Las Vegas? One fact is certain, a first time ITTF World Tour Womenís Singles winner will be crowned in the city famous for gambling, shopping, dining and nightlife.

New Name Set for Roll of Honour
No player on the entry list has ever climbed the top step of the podium in an ITTF World Tour Womenís Singles event.

Hungaryís Georgina Pota, the no.2 seed, has threatened whilst for the next three in the pecking order perhaps it is just a matter of time; Germanyís Petrissa Solja in the third seed followed by the host nation duo of Lily Zhang and Ariel Hsing.

Serbiaís Ana-Marija Erdelji, Tang Liying from the United States and Canadaís Zhang Mo complete the top eight seeded names.

Menís Singles Champions
However, in the counterpart Menís Singles event, two players have won Menís Singles titles title on the ITTF World Tour; one a notable name in the twilight of his career, the other, the most recent of all.

Croatiaís Zoran Primorac is the second seed, now 44 years old he was present in very first year of the Tour in 1996; having a special liking for Doha. He has won the Menís Singles title at the Qatar Open on no less than three occasions, he won in 1998, 1999 and 2001.

Furthermore, he succeeded in 1997 in Zhuhai at the China Open and in Linz at the Austrian Open before in 1999 emerging victorious in Rio de Janeiro at the Brazil Open.

The Most Recent
Present at every Olympic Games since table tennis was introduced in Seoul in 1988, Zoran Primorac is the notable name, the most recent is Masato Shiono, the sensational winner of the Menís Singles title at the recent GAC Group ITTF World Tour Japan Open in Yokohama.

He is the no.8 seed and judging by recent form, he could well be the man to cause a series of upsets.

An Oportunity
No ITTF World Tour Menís Singles titles to their credit as yet but the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour United States Open presents an opportunity for a player to emulate the remarkable feats of Masato Shiono in Yokohama.

Canadaís Eugene Wang is the third seed followed by Swedenís Robert Svensson, Japanís Ryusuke Karube, Mexicoís Marcos Madrid and Romaniaís Andrei Filimon.

Qualification Event Starts Proceedings
Play starts with the qualification stages of the Menís and Womenís Singles events on Wednesday 3rd July.


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