Olympic Final – Mens

Finalists in the Men’s Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2011 World Championships and at the LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup later in the year, China’s Zhang Jike and Wang Hao meet again today.

They duly booked their places in the Men’s Singles gold medal contest at the London 2012 Olympic Games, following penultimate round success on the morning of Thursday 2nd August.

Both succeeded in five game duels.

Seeded no.2, Zhang Jike beat Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov (11-8, 11-3, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8), before Wang Hao accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan (11-13, 11-2, 12-10, 11-6, 11-8).

Defeat for both Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Chuang Chih-Yuan but a higher finish than their seeding predicted.

Bronze Medal Contest

Chuang Chih-Yuan(pictured) was the no.5 seed, with Dimitrij Ovtcharov being the no.8 seed.

The two now meet in the bronze medal contest.

According to Form
Wins as ranking predicted and also as past form suggested.

Zhang Jike had played Dimitrij Ovtcharov on three previous occasions in World ranking events; on each occasion they had been closely fought duels. 

Past Results
In 2009 at the Danish Open, Dimitrij Ovtcharov had won in six games but in the two ensuing duels it had been success for Zhang Jike. 

He had won in 2010 at the quarter-final stage of the LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup in six games and one year later in the first stage at the same competition; the decision being in seven games.

All had been close matches; the contest in the ExCeL Arena proved to be the most convincing when the result was taken into account but it was hard fought. 

Crucial Game
The fourth game was the crucial moment. Dimitrij Ovtcharov recovered; he saved a series of game points to trail 9-10; a rally ensued with a forehand top spin from Dimitrij Ovtcharov clipping the top of the net and flying long.

It was the pivotal moment, it gave Zhang Jike a major boost of confidence; a hard fought fifth game ensued by Zhang Jike was in the ascendancy; a place in the final was duly booked.

Favoured Chinese Star
Equally previous results between Wang Hao and Chuang Chih-Yuan pointed heavily in favour of the Chinese star.

The pair had met on 13 previous occasions with Wang Hao having succeeded in 11 of the duels. 

Furthermore he had won the most recent 10 duels. The first encounter at the Dutch Open in 2002 had been won by Wang Hao; the next two had gone the way of Chuang Chih-Yuan.

Winning Sequence Started in Athens
He won in 2002 at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals in Stockholm and then the following year on the ITTF Pro Tour at the Danish Open.

However, in Athens at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event at the 2004 Olympic Games, it was success for Wang Hao; he won in six games and he has won ever since.

First Game
In the ExCeL Arena, Chuang Chih-Yuan established an early lead in the first game, he won the first five points before Wang Hao responded. 

Wang Hao established a rhythm and at 10-9 went ahead for the very first time in the match.

Chuang Chih-Yuan responded, he captured the game 13-11, before being overwhelmed in the second. 

An Opportunity
However, in the third game he established a 10-8 lead. There was chance, an opportunity to put Wang Hao under immense pressure.

Third Time
It was not to be; Wang Hao won the next four points and the die was cast.
He secured the deciding game to the delight of ecstatic coach, Liu Guoliang, 

Wang Hao was in the Men’s Singles final at an Olympic Games for the third consecutive time