by Simon Daish
Both Wong Chun Ting (HKG) and Kristian Karlsson (SWE) were in good form at the World Cup, and were unfortunate to lose out at the semi-finals stage to China’s Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong.
The battle for third place was set up for an exciting display of talent with the number four seed Wong going head-to-head with Karlsson, the player who had stunned everyone at the event with exceptional performances in the earlier rounds. But in all honesty besides a tight start to the tie, the match was firmly controlled by Wong.
Karlsson actually went ahead in the match by taking game one, but Wong picked up a crucial victory in the second game to silence the Swedish player’s supporters.
Another two ends followed for Wong Chun Ting who raced into a 3-1 lead, and the question of whether Kristian Karlsson had anything more to give in the tie was asked. But the answer was no, as Wong put a fourth game on his side of the scoreboard to claim third spot (8-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7).
“I am very happy with the victory but it did not come easily because in the first game, my opponent attacked very well but even when he was leading 5-0 in the second game, I just remained focused and continue to try my best,” said Wong Chun Ting. He added, “Kristian is a very strong player and that made it very hard for me. I am happy with this title being my first medal in the singles event of a major ITTF tournament. Also winning a medal on my first ITTF World Cup appearance is a good outing for me.”
Rather surprisingly, for the first time at the 2016 World Cup Kristian Karlsson was upset with his performance after losing out to his conqueror from Hong Kong, “It was a good tournament but with the way I played the third place match, it was disappointing. I found it hard to control his service in some points and this really affected me.” Karlsson continued, “I am not tired physically but mentally, I could say I am. But it was painful losing in such manner after starting well.”
While the outcome of the third place match may not have gone as planned for the Swedish player, Kristian Karlsson can be proud of his efforts at the Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Cup.