by Wade Townsend
We are almost two weeks out from the Liebherr 2017 World Championships and China is leaving no stone unturned as they prepare for the biggest event of the year; with the tournament just around the corner it was time for some practice matches in front of a crowd to create a high pressure environment.
Liu Shiwen, who was imperious in the China’s trials for the World Championships, found herself on the losing end of a seven game match against Wen Jia. Her teammates had less trouble, easily seeing off their opponents. Liu shouldn’t be panicking, but after two silver and bronze medals, it may be time to think about what she needs change if she’s to finally stand on top of the podium at a World Championship.
Meanwhile Ma Long, a favourite for the men’s title in Düsseldorf, had to come from behind against Shang Kun after dropping the first two games.
“I played normally today but not as good as I expected. Competition is not like training. The opponent won’t let you play comfortably. I was leading 7-1 in the first game but then lost the first two games. Coach Liu Guoliang told me to relax and get into the whole match rather than focusing on small details” Ma Long
“I have to adjust my mindset if I want to perform well in this new cycle. On the one hand, I want to climb to the peak in every cycle. On the other hand, I have to reject myself so that I can keep making progress. If still playing like before in skill and tactis, it is very difficult to achieve a good performance in this new cycle.” Ma Long
Zhang Jike and Fan Zhendong both had to survive game matches. For Zhang it wasn’t the score that was important, rather that he felt his recent training regime was beginning to pay-off.
“I showed in the match what I have practiced in the closed training. I am satisfied with my performance today. Winning or losing is not important to me, as everyone has their own criteria for winning and losing. I hope I can perform well and test what I have trained in the past month.” Zhang Jike
Checkout the full results from the warmup matches below.