Sweden won the medal in HalmstadPhoto: ITTF
LIEBHERR 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships
In the semi final of the men’s event at the LIEBHERR 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships China will meet Sweden, whilst Republic Korea will play against Germany. In the match for medal rostrum Sweden beat England in front of fully packed Halmstad Arena.
Kristian KARLSSON put a pressure on Paul DRINKHALL from the very beginning. He won the opening game by narrow margin 11:9, but Paul responded promptly. DRINKHAL made 7:2 before KARLSSON took the control once again to level at 8:8 and to make the lead by forcing Paul into the errors - 11:8. With the same power Swede continued to pressurize until the middle of the game. Paul recovered and from 5:5; they played point for point before Kristian proved too strong for DRINKHAL, recording a straight games victory to the delight of the home supporters (11:9, 11:8, 11:8).
“I was aware of his powerful backhand and I tried not to play to the corners,” said Kristian. “It was good opening match for us and I am very happy that I managed to conclud it in such manner. We have similar style of play and it was all about who will play it more aggressive and who will attack more.”
In very close opening game of second encounter Liam PITCHFORD was first to reach the game-ball, then Mattias KARLSSON missed one and it was the third that Liam PITCHFORD converted into the wining of the game - 14:12. The 7:2 lead in the second game for Mattias was too much. Paul recovered, put some pressure on KARLSSON, but only to narrow the margin – 11:6. The power once again changed the side when PITCHFORD took the third game after KARLSSON saved four gameballs. KARLSSON forced to the decisive game without losing his lead in the fourth game - 11:7.
In fifth game, quick 3:0 was the reason for England’s bench to call for time-out, but first point after that went on the account of the Swede. Liam recovered and levelled at 5 each. Followed by ear hurting noise in packed Halmstad Arena KARLSSON closed the match at 11:9.
“It was very important for England, since they were one match down already. It was special match for me too, not only because of the burden of medal in prosper but also because coach Marcos who leads England now, was my couch in youth age. The game was very close and at 9:9 at the decisive game you can not speak a lot about the tactics. The most important thing was that I believed more in that moment,” said Mattias.
Jon PERSSON was 6:8 in behind against Samuel WALKER in the opening game, but managed to halt Englishman to win any more points in that game 11:8. WALKER was struggling to find the game for Jon, who left him with only three points in second game – 11:3. From 0:4 to 8:6, WALKER recovered but not for long. Three match points latter, Jon closed the match.
“I was nervous thinking of what is on stake here. WALKER already had very good World Championships last time, he loves those kind of matches, they beat Japan…a lot of things went through my mind,” said PERSSON.