by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
However, the notable factor was the Chinese selection.
Against Russia, Fan Zhendong, Ma Long and Wong Chuqin had been the choice, confronting the Czech Republic, only Fan Zhendong remained. He lined up alongside Xu Xin and Lin Gaoyuan.
Now in late February at the 2018 World Team Cup, throughout the whole tournament, Liu Guozheng, the national coach on duty, had never changed his selection; always the line-up was Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin. In Halmstad there has been a distinct change of policy.
“Here in Halmstad, it is different to London: you play five matches in the group, not two as in London so you have more chances to field young players. Lin Gaoyuan and Wang Chuqin have much to learn from senior players like Ma Long and Xu Xin; the main quality is that they fight.” Liu Guozheng
A change in selection but whatever the change and whatever the order, the outcome was never in serious question; the only slight moment of concern was when Lin Gaoyuan lost the third game of his contest against Tomas Konecny (11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4).
Present last year at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf but for Lin Gaoyuan as for Wang Chuqin, it was his first appearance in the team version of the global event.
“It’s good to play in a team event because you have your team mates sitting on the bench supporting you; that really gives you confidence. Also, playing in a team event you must be ready from the very start and adapt quickly; it is only best of five games not best of seven, so you don’t have much time to recover. Today against Konecny, in the third game he was much more positive but in the fourth I made changes and won reasonably comfortably.” Lin Gaoyuan
Success for China, it was a happened a hundred and more times before, most impressive.