Ma Long experienced a dip in his performance after the World Team Championships. First, Ma Long was defeated by the young Japanese Koki Niwa in the Asian Olympic Qualifier in Hong Kong. Second, just weeks ago in the Korea Open, Ma Long lost to another young player and this time, it was against Lee Sang Su. These losses did not just end Ma Long's impressive record against foreigners but also affected his confidence against low-ranking players.
However, in the China Open, he once again met the Japanese rookie Koki Niwa. This time, Ma Long rose above the pressure and successfully redeemed himself with a 4-2 score. The match was still hard but he was able to overcome those difficulties and that is worthy of recognition.
After which, Ma Long defeated Chuang Chih Yuan and Wang Liqin before advancing into the finals against teammate Xu Xin. In the finals, Ma Long lacked the points and settled as the runner up. Despite what happened, Ma Long clearly got the inspiration and his confidence back. Aside from the Singles, Ma Long also won the title in the Doubles with Wang Hao. Overall, Ma Long was relatively stable in the China Open.
Zhang Jike's condition in the past two years has remained relatively stable. In the China Open Men Singles, Zhang Jike redeemed himself against South Korean Seo Hyun Deok and then won over Japanese main player Jun Mizutani. This led the reigning world champion to the semifinals against Xu Xin. This time, Zhang Jike was overcame by his teammate and missed the finals.
However, in the Korea Open, Zhang Jike consecutively won against Jorgen Persson, Wang Hao, and Xu Xin, leading him to the title. Overall, his condition was relatively normal. But since there were still difficult matches, Zhang Jike is still exposed to a number of problems. In two World Tour stations, Zhang Jike partnered with Wang Hao and Ma Lin respectively. In both occasions, Zhang Jike only settled for the runner up. This means lack of strength in the Doubles and must work hard on this aspect.
In the China Open Men Singles, Wang Hao only lasted until the third round where he was defeated by Hong Kong's Jiang Tianyi. The reason reported was his acute gastroenteritis. However, in the past, Wang Hao fighting against Jiang Tianyi and Tang Peng has been more difficult since his opponents became familiar to his style.
For the Olympics, Wang Hao should address this problem as he cannot afford to give any opportunities to his opponents. In the Korea Open, Wang Hao won against the 2004 Olympic champion Ryu Seung Min. However, he lost against Zhang Jike in the semifinals. Eventually his gloomy record against Zhang Jike continued. On this basis, winning the Olympic Singles gold medal is not so optimistic for Wang Hao.
Photo source: sohu.com