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WTTC 2008: China Retains Men’s Team Title

ITTF Press Release

They came in their thousands, the capacity of the Guangzhou Gymnasium being thirteen thousand; as with the Women’s Team final, the previous evening there wasn’t a spare seat in the house.

The signs were held aloft in Chinese characters “China to Win” and of course the multitudes of adoring fans were rewarded on Sunday 2nd March 2008 as their heroes won the Swaythling Cup for the sixteenth time and endorsed their stature as the superpower of table tennis.

In the men’s final at the Evergrande World Team Championships, China beat Korea by three matches to nil to win the prestigious Swaythling Cup for the sixteenth time.

Ma Lin the master of service and receive extolled his art to the full to win the first two games against Ryu Seung Min; the first was won with comfort, the second with a degree more consternation.

Ryu Seung Min led 10-9; Liu Guoliang, the head coach of the Chinese Men’s team called “Time Out”. The interjection worked; Ma Lin won the next three points.

The Korean responded; his forehand flowing, he won the third game but in the fourth; he made error after error receiving service. Ma Lin made virtually none. The game went quickly to Ma Lin, the Chinese star celebrated, China had the lead.

Next into the arena came Wang Hao and Lee Jung Woo; the Korean caused Wang Hao immense problems; in the first two games Wang Hao struggled to find a rhythm.

He made uncharacteristic errors from the backhand, both when receiving service and in the rallied.

Lee Jung Woo won the first game and was somewhat unfortunate to lose the second; the last two points both saw attacking strokes from Wang Hao clip the top of the net before bouncing on the Lee Jung Woo side of the table.

Great credit must go to Lee Jung Woo, he was brave, he attacked with his devastating forehand at every opportunity but Wang Hao had more to offer. He directed his attacks into the body of Lee Jung Woo, gradually he gained in self-belief, he succeeded and Chinese hearts beat comfortably.

A tough match for Wang Hao but not for Wang Liqin; he overwhelmed Joo Se Hyuk.

Consistently he played forehand topspins towards the backhand of Joo Se Hyuk; the Korean defended for his life but the reigning World champion was just too consistent.

Time and again it was forehand topspin after forehand topspin to the backhand; then a fast attack to the middle of the table and it was point over.

There was little Joo Se Hyuk could do; in straight games the contest was over. It was gold for China; the title won in 2006 in Bremen was duly retained and retained in style.

It was a superb performance by the magnificent Chinese; they were in a class of their own; the best in the world.

Ryu Seung Min v Ma Lin 5-11, 10-12, 11-6, 5-11
Lee Jung Woo v Wang Hao 11-7, 12-14, 5-11, 9-11
Joo Se Hyuk v Wang Liqin 5-11, 2-11, 6-11

Image: Wang Hao tested by Lee Jung Woo but in the end victorious (Courtesy of ITTF)

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