The Olympic Team competition was already unveiled yesterday in the Excel Arena. For the first round, Olympic gold medalist Zhang Jike, Olympic three-time silver medalist Wang Hao, and the Pro Tour King Ma Long overcame the Russian Team in 3-1.
The newly proclaimed Olympic Champion Zhang Jike was the first in the battle. He faced Russia's Kirill Skachkov. At the end of three sets, Zhang Jike offered the first point for the Team. The Olympic third person of the Chinese Team, Ma Long was the next in cue. He was against Alexander Shibaev. Just like Zhang Jike, Ma Long also posted a sweep victory.
"I believe my performance in the match (Men Team Round 16) was good. It was my first game in this Olympic Games. It was inevitable to be nervous and I wasn't able to play at my best. What is the most important in the Team competition is the unity in goal and cooperation. We will go out there to fight and win. I hope I would be able to play better in the coming matches." Ma Long said.
The third match was the Doubles match and was played by Ma Long and Wang Hao against Kirill Skachkov and Alexey Smirnov. After a strong start, the Chinese momentum was broken after the Russian duo won in 3-2.
"We are not very good in playing Doubles. We need to strengthen ourselves on this regard." Ma Long added.
"Our level is relatively close with our opponent so we have anticipated a tough game prior to the match. Losing one match doesn't mean anything. We will adjust our condition." Wang Hao said.
"I feel that the shots and the pace of the two players (Ma Long and Wang Hao) did not have cooperation with the agreement. It is maybe because Ma Long first played in the Singles then suddenly in the Doubles. It could really be confusing for someone to quickly adjust himself from Singles to Doubles." Liu Guoliang explained.
The Russian has broken the momentum but it did not affect the Chinese Team. Zhang Jike returned into the arena for the fourth match and played against Alexey Smirnov. It was 3-0 for the Olympic champion, completing a 3-1 victory into the quarterfinals.
"I think our performance was pretty good. Our goal is to win the gold medal so we will just take it one match at a time. I think there is no problem. We must trust each other more. For me, every opponent is strong. As long as they stood opposite to me, I already take them as a threat." Zhang Jike said.
Zhang Jike has already won the Men Singles Olympic title. However, for him, winning the Team competition is far more important. "I got the Singles gold medal but the team title is more important. This is the symbol of the Chinese strength. Either me or my teammates, we will all go out to fight for the gold." Zhang Jike concluded.
"Looking from the first match (Team competition), there is a little problem with our Doubles. Russia's Doubles is fierce and has a certain degree of aggressiveness while our team played a little tight. We cannot always be in a 3-0 victory in the Olympic Games. I have told the players to prepare for 3-2." Liu Guoliang concluded.
China in the 2012 Olympic Team competition
Photo source: london2012.com