Sweden’s aces in splendid shapePhoto: ITTF
Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open in Doha
Mattias KARLSSON partnered Kristian KARLSSON to record a sensational victory in the Men’s Doubles Event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open in Doha. Duo from Sweden beat Olympic Games gold medalists and World champions China’s MA Long and ZHANG Jike the Men’s Singles finalists at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the opening round. Chinese stars were beaten by the Swedish partnership in four games (5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-3).
Silver medalists from 2012 European Champions in Herning, Denmark were prepared for the challenge.
“We had nothing to lose, we were under no pressure; a few years ago we had played MA Long and WANG Hao; we lost 11-9 in the deciding games. Also, we had beaten MA Lin and WANG Hao, so we knew that we could compete against a strong Chinese partnership. Mattias is very good with short play, he creates opening for me, it proved a winning formula today”, Kristian KARLSSON
Mattias KARLSSON added:
“The fact that I use short pimples helps our partnership; it means there are always changes of spin. Also, Kristian Karlsson being left handed, gives me a great deal of space to play; partnering a right hander can be very cramped.”
It was a day reserved for Sweden’s success; Pär GERELL and Anton KÄLLBERG beat Qatar’s Ahmad Al-MOHANNADI and LI Ping, the no.8 seeds (12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10). In addition Tristan FLORE and Emmanuel LEBESSON of France, ended the aspirations of Russia’s Alexey LIVENTSOV and Mikhail PAIKOV, the no.3 seed (10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5).
Mattias KARLSSON continued with good results in Singles Event as well. He beat Vladimir SAMSONOV of Belarus (8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9).
“Against Vladi you have to be one hundred percent with your first ball. He changes the service all the time, sometimes short, sometimes half long. You must be alert, you must receive service well and you must take your chances. I lost the first two games, in the second game I was 10-4 ahead, I came back to 10-10 and then lost. After that I played better and my play improved as the match progressed.”
In the Women’s Singles Event SHAN Xiaona and HAN Ying of Germany, LI Jie of Netherlands progressed to the round of 16. They joined surprising winners of the opening round matches: Barbora BALAZOVA of Slovakia and Natalia PARTYKA of Poland. PARTYKA, five time Paralympic Games gold medal winner beat China’s WU Yang, the no.7 seed (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-9). BALAZOVA overcame Japan’s Kasumi ISHIKAWA (11-4, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6).
“You never know against a defender, the longer the rally, the more they can establish a rhythm to their play and the more you become tired. I have to admit that as the match came to a conclusion I was becoming a little nervous but throughout the match I tried to play my game. I played about 80 per cent of the time to her backhand; I was able to read the spin on the ball; when I played to her forehand there was so much backspin the ball, it was so difficult,” said Natalia PARTYKA.