by Simon Daish
Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu took first position in group 2 having dealt defeat (1-4) to Kristian Karlsson earlier in the day, but Karlsson didn’t dwell on that result for too long as the world number 29 from Sweden cruised to a 4-0 win in his second battle on day one.
Yijun Feng was Karlsson’s opponent in the final group match, and despite Feng impressing against Lee in the morning tie, it was Karlsson who stormed to the points in their encounter.
While a 4-0 scoreline may appear like a whitewash result, there were moments in the match where Feng pushed Karlsson all the way. The second and third ends turned out to be crucial to the outcome of the qualifying tie, and despite all of the US contestant’s best efforts Yijun Feng was eliminated from the tournament (11-4, 11-8, 13-11, 11-2).
Kristian Karlsson is through to the next stage but the 25-year-old has mixed feelings about his display on the opening day of the World Cup, “I am satisfied because I have fulfilled my goal of advancing from the group but I am not satisfied with my performance in the first match against Lee Sangsu.” Karlsson followed up, “This kind of tournament is very hard because of the quality of players participating.”
“I look forward to playing any of the top rated players in the main draw and for me this is what I have dreamt of, playing against some of the world’s best to be able to learn from them. Although you might not win against some of these players, it is going to be a valuable experience moving forward.” – Kristian Karlsson (Sweden).
Disappointment then for Yijun Feng with the opening round exit, however, his positive performances in Saarbrücken will spur him on for future competition success.
“I have garnered some experience from being part of this tournament because I found out that it is not about skills or techniques alone but the mental strength is very important” said Feng. “I was a bit nervous in all my matches and this affected me a lot… I have always dreamt of playing in such an atmosphere like the World Cup with only two tables and for me I really enjoyed every moment I spent in the competition, and I look forward to another opportunity.”