The start went very much in Zhang Jike's favour, he powered ahead to claim quite an extensive lead in the first set, only to have it clawed away at by Wang Hao. It went to deuce and still at 14-14 there was no outcome. A flick error left Zhang Jike wishing he'd closed the first set off earlier but Wang Hao couldn't convert, 15-15. Wang Hao had another opportunity and failed, it was 16-16. Zhang Jike went up a point, could he convert it to the set he so thoroughly deserved in the start? He called a timeout, a surprising move for the world number 1. Clearly getting ahead was first on his agenda, he did just that with an excellent service receive to the forehand side just out of reach as Wang Hao flew round the corner expecting a pivot forehand opportunity.
|Zhang Jike claims Gold and the coveted Grand Slam|
Taking no such risks in the second set Zhang Jike was off again leaving no margin for error. Claiming point after point and utilising his marvelous reverse serve to open up 3rd ball attack opportunities, it was Zhang Jike who took a 2-0 lead in the match. Speedy backhand to backhand rallying seemed to be the common theme of the match so far and Jike had, as usual, made great use of his backhand flick off Wang Hao's serves. Zhang Jike on the other hand was targetting Wang Hao's weaker forehand flick which presented simpler opportunities for him to attack the receive. Long fast serves came into play on occasion and the rallies which followed were of equal speed, amazing table tennis. The looping game was opening up from the World Champion but Wang Hao was clinging on tight in the 3rd set, but again it was Jike who broke away after the halfway mark and ploughed his way to an 11-6 win and a 3-0 lead.
Wang Hao's chances of Olympic gold were fading and it was probably looking all too familiar for the 2nd seeded player. Would it be another silver to the collection? At this stage it looked as though Zhang Jike was unstoppable in this final. Again in the 4th Zhang Jike set off at flying pace. Wang Hao called a timeout to try and halt his opponents rush of momentum, it appeared successful, Wang Hao was able to cling on with the score drawn at 8-8 towards the end of the set. The set hit deuce again, Wang Hao throwing away a set point with an unreliable forehand flick but converting his 2nd game point to bring it back to 3-1.
Wang Hao took a massive 5-0 lead in the 5th set but Zhang Jike demonstrated his superb control and came back to trail by one point at 5-6. A vicious forehand flick at 6-7 levelled the score at 7-7. An edgeball sparked controversy as both the umpire and Wang Hao rejected the appeal of Zhang Jike, he kept his composure to stay in the game trailing 9-8 and then drew it even at 9-9. Full length it would be but there was no stopping the Chinese superstar Zhang Jike. Another silver medal for Wang Hao to live with, a grand slam for Zhang Jike becoming the only athlete ever to hold the World Championships, World Cup and Olympic Mens Singles titles simultaneously!