Great Britain secured the place in eightPhoto: ITTF
2016 Rio Olympic Games
In the opening round of the Men's Team event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games top seeds China beat Nigeria in straight matches. The most exciting match was the duel between France and Great Britain. In the battle that lasted four hours all five matches concluded in five games.
For reigning champions the opening round was less challenging.
“It’s the first match, and it’s a good start for us. Jike and I played the Men’s Singles Final last night so we didn’t really have time to prepare for the Team event, so both of us hope to quickly adjust our mindsets and get ready for the Teams. For XU Xin, he has been preparing here for half a month to get ready for tonight. Tomorrow we will have a day off to rest and recover in preparation for the Team event, so it will all start for us maybe the day after tomorrow from the Quarterfinals onwards.”
About playing with ZHANG Jike today as a team: “We both understand the situation, we both completed our goal to reach the final, and it’s for sure one of us will win, and the other lose. Before we came to Rio, we both were mentally prepared, and have the understanding that regardless what the Singles outcome is, we are still teammates to support each other for the Team event,” said MA Long.
Sweden also needed only three to secure the place in the quarterfinal. Par GERELL, Kristian KARLSSON and Mattias KARLSSON prevailed against FENG Yijun, JHA Kanak and WANG Timothy.
After quarterfinal of the World Championships in February this year, the bronze medal winners England, met France once again. Like few months before it was Simon GAUZY who gave his team a dream start and also he had his avenge for the defeat in previous duel against Liam PITCHFORD.
Emmanuel LEBESSON lost the decisive game in Kuala Lumpur, but tonight he gained parity for France in the second match. In another full five games duel he beat Paul DRINKHALL. In doubles, Tristan FLORE and LEBESSON was two games in reverse, before they recovered to beat Samuel WALKER and DRINKHALL. France had advantage once again. In the next match FLORE had 2:0 against PITCHFORD, but Liam recovered and even saved the match point to push Great Britain into the decisive match.
In the decisive game of the decisive match GAUZY had a match point but failed to seal the duel. WALKER seized his opportunity one minute later and won the match.
WALKER who was not selected to play singles for Great Britain stated after his unlikely win : "I was very focused, obviously it is a noisy hall. But the support of our guys, and it was amazing, that kind of helped me get through it. When he (Gauzy) was up 10-7 (in the decider), I was still focused and I never stopped believing that I could still win it, and I did. I am stoked!"