by Ian Marshall, Editor
Urged forward by the passionate crowd in the Eriksdalshallen, Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson established a 7-2 lead in the opening game; they maintained the advantage but at 10-5 gave their supporters more than concern. They lost the next five points, before eventually calming nerves by securing the next two to seize the early advantage.
Sighs of relief, in the second game neither pair was able to seize a meaningful advantage until from 8-all the score-line moved to 10-8 in favour of Lin Jun-Ju and Liao Cheng-Ting; two chances, the Chinese Taipei duo needed just one chance.
Parity, in the third game matters were level at 4-all; Lin Yun-Ju and Liao Cheng-Ting won the next three points but lost the next two, the score 7-6, the Chinese Taipei duo called “Time Out”. The break was to prove wise, the advantage was maintained, at 10-8 Lin Yun-Ju and Liao Cheng-Ting held two game points; as in the previous game at the first attempt they converted.
Trailing, a special effort was needed by the Swedes, the supporters gave their all, Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson responded, in the fourth game, they established a 7-4 lead, they never looked back; a deciding fifth game beckoned.
Chants from the crowd which only Swedes could understand, at the change of ends in the fifth game, Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju held a 5-3 lead. Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson levelled at 5-all; the next three points went to Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju, the Swedes called “Time Out”. At 10-7 the Chinese Taipei duo held three match points, Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson saved all three; then another when trailing 10-11 but could not manage the feat a fifth time, the title belonged to Chinese Taipei, to Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju.
“It’s the first year we have played together, I’m really pleased we succeeded.” Liao Cheng-Ting
It was for Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson their fourth career appearance in an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final; in 2015 they won in Poland, in 2012 they were the runners up in the Czech Republic, the same fate as they were to experience five years later in Qatar.
“I think today we had to put the Swedish fans and their support out of our mind, just play one point at a time, one step at a time.” Lin Yun-Ju
Rather differently for Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju it was their first such excursion but their 10th appearance of the year on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour, more than any other pairing; most significantly it was success.