by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Proceedings commenced with Hugo Calderano facing Joo Saehyuk; a close opening game but then the master of the art of defence took control to record a straight games success (15-13, 11-8, 11-6).
Memories of Zagreb
Hugo Calderano, in his enthusiasm to penetrate the defensive wall, made mistakes; he made the same mistakes as a young 18 year old had made at the Liebherr 2007 World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia; that teenager learned and did rather well in later years. The young man in question is China’s Ma Long.
“It was a difficult match against Hugo, the crowd really lifted him. In the team meeting we all agreed that the most important factor was to be mentally strong and to be focused. After I lost the first game I tried to make sure that I stayed calm and I concentrated on defence; whenever possible returning the ball with heavy backspin.” Joo Saehyuk
A brave effort by Hugo Calderano, it was the same in the next contest and the same outcome, Cazuo Matsumoto was beaten in four games by Jeoung Youngsik (11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-2); strong from the backhand, the limitations of the traditional pen-hold grip style used by Cazuo Matsumoto were illustrated.
“At first I thought that I would play against Joo Saehyuk but they changed the line-up. I knew that Jeong Youngsik’s game would be a bit uncomfortable for me. Yesterday I watched a match of him against Xu Xin to see what I could do. I tried to neutralise his game, so that he couldn’t attack all the time. In the match I did the best I could, I was very active but he plays very well and is ranked number 12 in the world. He was a difficult rival.” Cazuo Matsumoto
The momentum with Korea, matters concluded with a doubles success for Lee Sangsu and Jeoung Youngsik in opposition to Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi (11-5, 11-7, 11-2).
A three-nil win for Korea, it was the same outcome for their quarter-final adversaries, Sweden, the no.8 seeds, they accounted for the United States, the no.15 seeds.
Experience and playing in the hotbed of European club competitions was no doubt a contributory factor, even though one member of the United States outfit is based in the Nordic country.
Plays in Halmstad
Kanak Jha practises in Halmstad and is no stranger to members of the Swedish outfit; however, there was not a grain of charity displayed by his adopted countrymen.
He was beaten in the second match of the engagement by Kristian Karlsson (11-6, 11-6, 11-5) after Pär Gerell had given Sweden the ideal start by overcoming Feng Yujin (11-3, 11-6, 12-10).
Matters concluded with Pär Gerell joining forces with Mattias Karlsson to record a doubles win in opposition to Kanak Jha and Timothy Wang (11-5, 11-9, 11-8).
The quarter-final fixtures in the Men’s Team event will be played on Sunday 14th August.