So far China had not dropped a set in their individual matches, some people were wondering when they would. Sweden had an answer to that end. The first match would be one of historical proportions. Jorgen Persson, a member of the Swedish team in all 4 of it's victories at the WTTC, would clash with Chinese veteran Ma Lin. Ma Lin a gold medalist on 5 occasions at the World Team Championships. Both from an era of the game where Sweden and China were the titans of table tennis around the world, their match was as entertaining as ever.
|Jorgen Persson not done yet!|
Image from Dennis TT World
Ma Lin flew out to a 1-0 lead, but the next set was to surprise everyone. Jorgen Persson found wings and found himself leading 8-1 in the 2nd set, he completely shut Ma Lin down. However the set was far from over and Ma Lin came soaring back to 10-9. Under pressure, Persson timed out and came back to win the crucial point and win the first set of any match against China thus far. The next set flew by rather quickly, Ma Lin displaying some great table tennis, even employing the use of a chop block a couple of times to great effect. The final set of the match saw a stalemate at 9-9, with Ma Lin leading 2-1. Persson tried to push deep and hard to restrict Ma Lin's attack, but made an error and pushed into the net, losing the point. The next serve he attempted to flick and also made error, losing 11-9.
Stepping up to the plate next was the young Kristian Karlsson. He had a tough match against World Number 1 Ma Long. It was interesting to see that China had played Ma Long and Zhang Jike in combination with Ma Lin. Although Guoliang gives 100% support to Ma Lin, it seemed having the two best players in the world also in the team was like an insurance policy, should Ma Lin fail to win. Karlsson struggled to make any kind of ground against Ma Long, it was a 3-0 win for Ma Long and most of Karlsson's points came from errors by the Chinese player. A tough first match for the young Swede.
The final match was between Zhang Jike and Robert Svensson. Svensson who beat Timo Boll in the first stage of last years Bundesliga final came out firing, and firing well. He won the first 5 points of the match and found himself up 7-1. Zhang Jike of course had an answer, clawing his way decisively back to 9-9. Svensson was able to hold him off to win the first set. The sets which ensued were in China's favour, but there was some great play by Svensson. Zhang Jike won the match 3-1.
Jorgen Persson v. Ma Lin 2012 WTTC