by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Mainstay of the German success was Ruwen Filus; he beat both Eric Jouti (11-6, 11-8, 11-6) and Hugo Calderano (7-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9). The one further win for Germany was recorded by Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the third match of the fixture; he overcame Gustavo Tsuboi (11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3). The one win for Brazil was secured by Hugo Calderano, in the opening match of the contest, he overcame Bastian Steger (11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6).
Success for Germany but the focus of attention was on Sweden.
A cauldron of excitement, Kristian Karlsson gave the host nation the ideal start, he beat Paul Drinkhall (11-9, 11-8, 11-8); it was the spark that ignited the team.
“I was down 2-8 in the second game and came back; that was crucial. I feel I made good decisions during the match; we are of a similar style, we both like to play forehands. Against Paul, the first attack is vital, today I was aggressive, let him attack first and he is very good.” Kristian Karlsson
The win set Sweden on the victory road, Mattias Karlsson turned the tide inexorably in his country’s favour. In a contest decided by minimal margins, he overcame the hitherto unbeaten Liam Pitchford (12-14, 11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9).
“I was aware of the importance of the match; England needed this match. Kristian had played great to beat Paul. Liam and myself practise here in Halmstad, the English coach Mattias Sjöberg was my coach until I was 14 or 15 years old; it was a special match for me in more ways than one. The match was decided by very small margins. I was serving at 9-9 in the fifth game, I won a long point; then I decided to serve to the middle and follow with a strong attack; I just went for it, believed in myself and it came good.” Mattias Karlsson
The momentum heavily in favour of Sweden, a sense of anticipation, Jon Persson accounted for Sam Walker to close the curtain and the hopes of England repeating the success of two years ago in Kuala Lumpur when finishing in the bronze medal position. Jon Persson won in straight games (11-8, 11-3, 14-12).
“I was nervous at the beginning of the match, I knew the importance, win and we were in the semis. Sam has a reputation for being good in the big matches but equally I like to play the big matches. Here the crowd the support has been tremendous, great atmosphere.” Jon Persson
At the semi-final stage Sweden meets China, in the opposite half of the draw Germany confronts Korea.