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Other Events - 26 Oct 2014

ZHANG Jike pays price of win in Düsseldorf


The winner in Paris three years earlier, ZHANG Jike regained the LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup title in the ISS Dome in the German city of Düsseldorf. He clinched gold in one of the most dramatic finals ever witnessed since the tournament was first staged in 1

The winner in Paris three years earlier, ZHANG Jike regained the LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup title in the ISS Dome in the German city of Düsseldorf. He clinched gold in one of the most dramatic finals ever witnessed since the tournament was first staged in 1980.

Occupying the second seeded position in the competition, he beat Chinese National Team colleague and top seed, MA Long in scintillating final to arrest the title.

ZHANG Jike, the master of the big occasion won in seven games (8-11, 11-4, 13-11, 7-11, 2-11, 11-5, 12-10) and celebrated in a manner for which with good grace he later apologised.

Overcome by the moment, emotional, he put his foot through two of the surrounds guarding the court; it was spur of the moment reaction and one which he regretted when the adrenalin flow had calmed in ferocity.

The decision of the Jury is that he will not receiving any prize money for his actions. “I am very sorry for what I did”, said ZHANG Jike. “It was not acceptable behaviour and I am sorry.”

We all make mistakes and let us at least give some credit to ZHANG Jike. I am not condoning his actions but it takes a brave man to apologise publicly.

“This was a perfect victory, I have been under a great deal of pressure, with people questioning my form”, said ZHANG Jike. “I am now very satisfied and very relieved, I would like to congratulate MA Long on an amazing final; we really put on a table tennis exhibition.“

Gold for ZHANG Jike, silver for Ma Long; it was bronze for the host nation’s Timo BOLL in what was a repeat of their contest four years earlier in Magdeburg when they had duelled for third place.

On that occasion Timo BOLL won in seven games (11-7,11-7, 8-11,10-12,11-9, 9-11,11-7); in Düsseldorf it was one game less (2-11, 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-2, 11-9). “Despite being a left hand player, I always have had a problem playing a left handed player like me”, said Jun MIZUTANI. “Against Timo BOLL, I could not receive his service while his topspin was difficult for me to control; I am not happy that I am finishing fourth for the third time at the World Cup.”

In addition to 2010, Jun MIZUTANI finished in fourth place in Paris in 2012; on that occasion he was beaten in the play-off match by Korea’s JOO Saehyuk (11-3, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6).

Defeat for Jun MIZUTANI; for Timo BOLL success and a win with an extra meaning. “The victory against Jun MIZUTANI was very important because I am a player who does not like to lose especially in front of my own crowd”, he said. “It was a good feeling for me going into my vacation with this win.”

Happy holidays for Timo BOLL, for ZHANG Jike in his third LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup, gold for the second time.

Courtesy ITTF

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