The warm-up match lasted for about two hours and ended with Ma Long winning two matches. Meanwhile, Zhang Jike recorded one loss and one victory.
“Zhang Jike lost one match while Ma Long won all. The most important thing is for the players to find the competitive feeling. Both of them have always trained with their Chinese teammates and they are very familiar with them already.” Liu Guoliang said, explaining the reason of the match.
The Favourite Target
“Zhang Jike is the focus of everyone’s attention because in this season, he has the biggest challenge.” Coach Liu said after the training.
Indeed, whether we like it or not, Zhang Jike has the spotlight in the upcoming competition. He is the defending champion, the only Grand Slam champion on duty, and the only player who can possibly win a second round of Grand Slam.
What’s more interesting, especially for his opponents, is that Zhang Jike recently went through difficult times in his career. Until now, he is still unstable. This, of course, is a golden opportunity for anyone who would like to stage a grand upset in the Olympic Games.
The 40-year old Vladimir Samsonov said with confidence: “I might meet Zhang Jike in the semifinals. In the finals, I might meet Ma Long.”
The veteran further said that in the past confrontations, although it is difficult for him to win even a single set against Ma Long, he can play much better against Zhang Jike.
“I once beat him in the Europe versus Asia Challenge. Under normal circumstances, playing against Zhang Jike is easier than against Ma Long.” Samsonov said.
Another player who is taking advantage is the 2012 bronze medalist Dimitrij Ovtcharov. “Looking from the present condition of Zhang Jike, he is facing a lot of troubles. I wasn’t able to do a good job in preparing for the semifinal match against him four years ago in London. This time, I believe there is a chance. It will be very interesting.” He said.
On that note, we expect to see an exciting match from the best players in the world as soon as the competition unfolds.
By Henry Chen