China defended their title and won the trophy for the 21st timePhoto: ITTF
LIEBHERR 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships
China defended their title in Halmstad. In the final, mighty team beat Germany. On their way to the throne at the Men’s Event at the LIEBHERR 2018 World Team Table Tennis ChampionshipsChina won all five of their group stage encounters and the second seeds went on to achieve back-to-back successes against Austria and Sweden to progress to the gold medal contest for the 26th occasion.
They also preserved they unbeaten status in the singles matches. There were close encounters for FAN Zhendong and MA Long in their respective fixtures against João GERALDO and Robert GARDOS but not one side has managed to put a dent in China’s title assault.
It was difficult to believe it will have happened in the final, especially when Timo BOLL is still fresh from the injury, and Dimitrij OVTCHAROV was not even in the line up.
Olympic and World champion MA Long beat Timo BOLL (11:4, 11:8, 11:3), FAN Zhendong overcame Ruwen FILUS (11:4, 11:5, 11:4), whilst XU Xin prevailed against Patrick FRANZISKA (9:11, 12:10, 11:7, 11:5).
“I regard Timo as strong as I am. I put him in the very high level. I watched him play yesterday and he was in a good shape. I didn’t feel too much pressure today. I took initiatives and became more active. I’m glad that I won. I think it was both a mental and technically match, but this not only one side. When I played against Timo I thought I was playing against myself. When I was 4-7 down in the second game, I tried to take more initiatives and then I won,” said MA Long.
Timo BOLL reflected: “: if I had won it could give us a bust, but MA played at the highest level. We could not do anything to stop them. There were lot obstacles, FRANZISKA was not in the team in quarters, I missed one because of my injury, Dimitrij was not in final line up, but after match like this, China deserved this trophy.”