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Other Events - 11 Jan 2015

China showed no mercy in Dubai


China justified their exalted status by winning the Men’s and Women’s event at the 2015 World Team Cup in Dubai. Men’s team in the first stage of the competition had recorded three-nil wins on both visits to the table; in the last eight and the penultimat

China justified their exalted status by winning the Men’s and Women’s event at the 2015 World Team Cup in Dubai. Men’s team in the first stage of the competition had recorded three-nil wins on both visits to the table; in the last eight and the penultimate round it had been the same verdict. At the final hurdle, there was no break with tradition, a three matches to nil win was recorded against Austria, the seventh seeds.

FAN Zhendong settled any Chinese nerves by beating Daniel HABESOHN in the opening exchange, before ZHANG Jike extended the advantage. He overcame Robert GARDOS. Proceedings came to a conclusion with the doubles combination of XU Xin and ZHANG Jike accounting for Stefan FEGERL and Daniel HABESOHN.

“We met in the group stage and in the final”, said Robert GARDOS when reflecting on his contest against ZHANG Jike. “He’s really very strong, I played well but he just played better; it was almost like the situation during the Tokyo World Championships, there I had match points against him but somehow he just came back to win the match.”

Defeat in the final but runners up spot was a most satisfactory finish for the Austrians. They are only the third European country ever to reach the Men’s Team final. Sweden won in 1990 when the tournament was first staged, whilst being the runners up in 1991 and 1994. In 1995 Germany finished in the silver medal position.

Notably since 2007 when the tournament returned to the international calendar, no European team has reached the final. “We are happy; this is the best result that we ever had in the World Team Cup”, added Daniel HABESOHN. “We are growing as a team but China is definitely too strong for us at the moment.”

An improving team, it was a fact which Zhang Jike acknowledged. “Austria played well and they managed to make us struggle, I am sure they will get stronger in the future and make us struggle more”, said the reigning Olympic and World champion. “It was good to play a different team in the final; we are good friends with the Austrians, so it is always nice to play against them.”

Good friends, certainly they are no strangers to each other; they met in both stages of the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships and in both stages of the 2015 World Team Cup.

Women’s Team of China recorded straight matches victory in the final. Unquestionably the score-line did not reflect the effort made by DPR Korea in what was a closely contested final.

The opening two encounters were both decided in full distance five games duels. LIU Shiwen staved off a brave recovery by RI Mi Gyong to emerge successful by the very narrowest of margins , before ZHU Yuling had to dig deep into her mental reserves to overcome the defensive skills of RI Myong Sun. Two close matches, the doubles was less tense; DING Ning entered the fray to partner LIU Shiwen, the duo quickly established a harmony to their play. A straight games win over KIM Hye Song and RI Mi Gyong was the end result.

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