by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Man of the moment was Mattias Karlsson, in the opening match of the fixture he beat Chuang Chih-Yuan in three straight games (15-13, 11-7, 11-9), before in the concluding contest accounting for Chen Chien-An in four games (11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8) to send those present into sheer delirium.
Sandwiched in between Kristian Karlsson had overcome Chen Chien-An (11-8, 14-12, 11-9), before losing to Chuang Chih-Yuan in the fourth match of the fixture (11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 13-11). The defeat at the hands of Chuang Chih-Yuan came immediately after Jon Persson had lost to one of the most gifted young players on the current international scene. In the third match of the engagement, he was beaten by 16 year old Lin Yun-Ju (8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4).
The win secured by Lin Yun-Ju gave Chinese Taipei hope but only a ray of hope, Kristian Karlsson had shown good form against Chen Chien-An and was arguably the favourite in opposition to Chuang Chih-Yuan who was seemingly not firing on all cylinders. It was to be very different to predictions.
“Against Chen Chien-An I tried to stay focused throughout the whole match; play my game and follow the tactics I’ve employed against him in the past. We played many times against each other in the French League. He’s left handed like me and usually I feel confident against left handers; I felt today in backhand to backhand rallies I was stronger. Playing Chuang Chih-Yuan he raised his game, he played very well; the second game I lost closely but I don’t think that had more effect on the outcome than any other game. He played well.” Kristian Karlsson
Similarly, Mattias Karlsson made a convincing start to his itinerary by beating Chuang Chih-Yuan and won the first two games against Chen Chien-An before after leading 9-6 in the third he had an attack of nerves as he saw the winning post.
“I was nervous during the whole match against Chen Chien-An! In the third game he played outstandingly well: I have no complaints he played some great points. Against Chuang Chih-Yuan in the first match, I won a close first game which helped; he’s very good in the rallies, he’s a tough opponent.” Mattias Karlsson
A splendid performance by Mattias Karlsson, he ended the day a happy man as did Ulf “Tickan” Carlsson, the national coach.
“We made a good start, we went two-nil ahead but eventually we needed a fifth match to secure the win; there are so many good teams here, every match is tough. For sure I’m happy with our win today.” Ulf “Tickan” Carlsson
Sweden now meets England in the quarter-finals; the fixture is scheduled for 6.00pm Friday 4th May.