CHINA

Zhang Jike Is Timo Boll's Most Feared Enemy (Video)

Zhang Jike Is Timo Boll's Most Feared Enemy (VIDEO)
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The German Timo Boll is one of the greatest players in table tennis and has been considered by the Chinese Team as their strongest opponent. This has been repeatedly expressed by the head coach Liu Guoliang in his interviews. Among the Chinese Team, it is Zhang Jike who has the capacity and the skills to overcome the German superpower. Because of this, the world champion earned the trust that he needed to soar high.

Since his debut in the international scene in 2002, Timo Boll has already caught the attention of the Chinese team especially when he convincingly defeated Wang Liqin and Kong Linghui in 2003. He is one of the few who can actually inflict pressure against the Chinese players. 

In the 2011 Rotterdam Championships, the first Chinese player Timo Boll faced was Chen Qi. It was the quarterfinal match of the competition. At the end of five sets, Timo Boll prevailed, giving more threat to the Chinese team.  

In an interview, Chinese Team head coach Liu Guoliang expressed his worries against the German player. He said that as long as Timo Boll is in the competition, he can't sleep well.

Fortunately for the coach, such sleepless nights in Rotterdam ended one round after. The second Chinese player Timo met in the competition was Zhang Jike. Their semifinal match was one of the highlights of the whole tournament where Zhang Jike overcame Timo Boll in five sets, after which, Liu Guoliang probably was able catch up with his sleep habits since China was already assured of the World Champion title. 

One year later, Zhang Jike participated in the Dortmund Team Championships. Among the full lineup of Wang Hao, Ma Lin, Ma Long, Zhang Jike, and Xu Xin, it was the world champion who had the most exposure. China was successful reaching the finals and Zhang Jike embarked on his second World Team Championships final.   

In Dortmund, China once again faced their biggest opponent, Germany. With the potentials and the skills, the Chinese coaching staff assigned Zhang Jike against their opponent's strongest player: Timo Boll.  

Zhang Jike easily won the first two sets. However, in the third set, the world champion experienced a turning point - a turning point from his honesty and generosity. In the third set, Zhang Jike was leading 9-7 but he willingly agreed to give a point back to Boll due to a netball. As a result, Zhang Jike lost a point in 8-7. 

Eventually, Boll was able to level things 2-2. Sitting in the team's bench, Liu Guoliang recalled the Moscow championships where Timo Boll successfully recovered against Ma Long. 

However, the heart of the Tibetan Mastiff was just too strong. He was patient and aggressive, taking back the control from Timo Boll. Ultimately, Zhang Jike was able to capture the match and once again eased the worry of the head coach Liu Guoliang.   

"The more difficult the game becomes, the more it stimulates my potentials." Zhang Jike said after the match. In the past two years, Zhang Jike greatly improved in completing his responsibilities as a Chinese national player. 

Here is the video of the 2011 Rotterdam championships between Timo Boll and Zhang Jike. Pure genius on both side during the sets both players won! Enjoy this wonderful match!

Zhang Jike vs Timo Boll 2011 WTTC
video kindly shared by ttCountenance

Photo source: ITTF Facebook page 

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