16 Sep 2016

A quarter-final exit four days earlier, when beaten by the champion elect, China’s Ge Yang in Men’s Singles Class 10; Jorge Cardona emerged as the hero of the hour for Spain on the evening of Thursday 15th September.

In the vital decisive concluding contest, he recovered from a two games to one deficit against Piotr Gruidzen (11-6, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8) to secure a Men’s Team Class 9-10 semi-final success against Poland.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The win came after he had partnered José Manuel Ruiz to doubles success against Patryk Chojnowski and Piotr Gruidzen in a five games duel (11-4, 14-12, 9-11, 4-11, 11-6) and Patryk Chojnowski had levelled matters by overcoming José Manuel Ruiz in four games (11-7, 11-4, 5-11, 15-13).

Happy but scary

“I’m happy but it was scary, it was a tough match”, said Jorge Cardona. “Sure I was nervous before the match against Piotr, it was the match that decided whether or not we would be in the final or not.”

A place in the final was duly booked.

“Against Piotr after I went two-one down, I focused on trying to make him move more, changing the direction of the play from one side to another”, added Jorge Cardona. “In the first three games I’d not felt comfortable returning service; as the match progressed I returned better and I became more confident with my overall game.”

Good team

Most importantly Jorge Cardona kept his nerve, he kept calm; there were no unwanted histrionics.

“We have a good team, José Manuel is a good number one and I think I’m a good number two; I think that gives us an advantage over other teams.”

José Manuel Ruiz is most certainly a good number; notably has played with a degree of success on the ITTF World Tour.

Doubles win vital

Furthermore, he was well aware of the significance of the opening contest; the doubles win was as important as the heroics of Jorge Cardona.

“The first match, the doubles was vital; if we could win the doubles then we had a big chance; I had to play Patryk Chojnowski, he’s very good, I lost in four games but I had every confidence in Jorge. I knew I could rely on him.”

Success for China

Success for Spain; earlier in the evening  there had been success for China with Ma Lin and Lian Hao overcoming a spirited French duo comprising Mateo Boheas and Cédrik Cabestany.

A two-nil victory margin was the end result but Ma Lin almost came to grief; he was extended the full distance by Mateo Boheas, emerging successful by the minimal margin in the deciding game (11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10).

The win came after, in partnership with Lian Ho, the duo had accounted for Mateo Boheas and Cédrik Cabestany in three straight games (11-7, 11-9, 11-2).

Good co-operation

“Our team did well, especially in the doubles, we have been co-operating and playing well; the entire Chinese team is also very united”, said Ma Lin who is adapting to the new format.

“It’s very strange with the playing system for the team event this year, playing the doubles first; usually we have best of five matches but this time it’s only best of three”, added Ma Lin. “It doesn’t feel like a team event, if a team keeps winning two-nil, the third player may not even get the chance to play at all.”

Ma Lin may have concerns but his team keeps winning.

Element of surprise

“Playing best of three adds on the element of surprise; it’s not very fair for the stronger teams to be frank”, he added; however, there was one fact that pleased him, he was playing better than in the Men’s Singles Class 9 event when he had suffered a surprise quarter-final defeat at the hands of Italy’s Mohamed Amine Kalem.

 “For sure it affected me, I lost in the quarter-finals, mentally, I’m more focused playing in the team event, but on the other hand, it’s also difficult for me”, concluded Ma Lin.

Medal contests

The final and bronze medal contests are scheduled for 6.30 pm on Saturday 17th September.

Paralympics Patryk Chojnowski Jose Manuel Ruiz Mateo Boheas Cedrik Cabestany Lian Hao Piotr Gruidzen MaLin Jorge ardona