World champion Wang narrowly wins table tennis warm-up match

July 30th, 2008 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Wuxi (China), July 30 (Xinhua) China’s triple world champion Wang Liqin gained a narrow win over a much lower ranked team mate in a table tennis men’s singles warm-up match here. Liqin along with top-ranked compatriot Wang Hao, four-time World Cup champion Ma Lin as well as substitute Chen Qi will show up for the men’s events in the Beijing Olympic Games next month.

Liqing was made to sweat in his encounter with 82nd-ranked Xu Hui before prevailing 4-3. Wang, who was unable to find the rhythm in the beginning, rallied from 0-3 down to level the score 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 Tuesday.

With the crowd cheering for him, Wang held on to his winning momentum to take the tiebreaker 11-4.

Liu Guoliang, head coach of the Chinese men’s team, said that Wang was out of form in the first half of the match but succeeded in pulling himself together later.

“This was the most valuable match for Wang because he could find his problem and made adjustment in time,” Liu said.

“At the Olympics, if he can perform as he did in the latter half of the match today, he will be the most powerful paddler,” he added.

In the men’s team event Monday, the 30-year-old Liqin was beaten by third-ranked teenage prodigy Ma Long 3-2 in a marathon battle.

The warm-up acted as a final test for the Chinese squad in the run-up to the Beijing Games. The challengers who overpowered the Olympic squad would be allowed to attend the table tennis worlds next year.

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