02 Nov 2018

Upsetting the odds, responding to the roars and applause of their supporters, the host nation’s Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson raised the roof in Stockholm’s Eriksdalshallen on the evening of Friday 2nd November.

In the second round of the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open, Mattias Falck, the no.15 seed, beat China’s Lin Gaoyuan, the no.3 seed (7-11, 11-7, 14-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8); Kristian Karlsson, the no.16 seed, accounted for Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.8 seed (11-6, 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 16-14, 11-2).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The results mean that Sweden is guaranteed a semi-final place and the possibility of Fan Zhendong playing only Chinese adversaries, should he progress to the final, is now over.

At the quarter-final stage Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson confront each other, for the winner in the penultimate round, it is either Fan Zhendong or Chinese colleague, Liang Jingkun.

Focus, fast attacking play, no great degrees of top spin exerted, the ball travelling fast and at a low trajectory, Mattias Falck never let Lin Gaoyuan settle.

“It’s amazing to beat Lin Gaoyuan; he is very highly ranked in the world. He likes to flick the return of serve; he is very aggressive but when it comes to defence, to blocking, he is not so stable. Throughout the match I tried to block his attacks.” Mattias Falck

A splendid effort by Mattias Falck, responding to the clarion call of the faithful, it was the same from Kristian Karlsson but the win executed with heavy top spin strokes, as opposed to low range guided exocet missiles.

“I performed really well, Koki is fast; so I tried to lower the speed of the play and play in a stable manner. It worked! I’m delighted.” Kristian Karlsson.

Success for Sweden but for Germany as the second round matches in the Men’s Singles event came to a conclusion, it was differing fortunes.

Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.4 seed, beat Chinese Taipei’s 17 year old Lin Yun-Ju, who had been required to compete in the qualification event (11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4); conversely, Benedikt Duda, also a player who started his adventures in the preliminary rounds, experienced defeat at the hands of China’s Zhou Qihao (11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8).

“I lost the first; that was disappointing. He is a top player. I’m pleased I won the fourth game; I didn’t play with enough variety today.” Lin Yun-Ju

Zhou Qihao now meets Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the quarter-finals; both the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played on Saturday 3rd November.

Notably at in the second round of the Men’s Singles event there was an unusually high ratio of left handers, in fact the same number as right handers; eight of each variety. However, only two progressed to the quarter-finals, Kristian Karlsson and earlier in the day, China’s Xu Xin.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Swedish Open Kristian Karlsson Mattias Falck

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