by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
China Jiang Jialiang versus Sweden’s Jörgen Persson is the next match on the agenda, two World champions meet; one with a style that signalled the end of an era, one that cemented the technique of the new.
Crowned World champion in 1985 in Gothenburg, the title retained two years later in New Delhi, Jiang Jialiang was last of the Asian masters to adopt successfully the fast pen-hold grip close to the table machine gun precision attacking style. Conversely, as power prevailed, Jörgen Persson took a step back, strong top spin play and a backhand to bury holes in the court surrounds saw him anointed World champion in 1991 in Chiba.
Awaiting the winner of Christophe Legout and Panagiotis Gionis at the semi-final stage is Germany’s Jörg Rosskof, crowned European champion in 1992 in Stuttgart and winner of the Men’s World Cup in 1998 in the Chinese city of Shantou.
Meanwhile for the victor in the contest of the World champions, the 1994 European champion awaits; the idol of Belgium, Jean-Michel Saive.
In Metz the crowd, no doubt packed to the rafters will pay homage; cries of Jean-Mi, Jean-Mi, Jean-Mi will no doubt echo loudly.
A possible winner; we have to wait and see, watch the action unfold on Metz, watch the legends ply their skills…………………….