ADPP At The Olympics…AGAIN

The ExCel Arena

WOW! What a day we were treated to. ADPP had front row seats at the biggest sporting event on the planet AGAIN! We were lucky enough to have front row seats AGAIN! We were set to watch the Mens Semi-Final match featuring China Vs Germany. We were set to watch 5 of the top 10 players in the world, compete in battle. Read the story below to see how it has!


The Journey

Table Tennis on the Jubilee Line, London.

It was the 6th of August, and After Dark Ping Pong had tickets for the Men’s Semi Finals Team event at the ExCel Arena in London. We could not get away from the sport all day with advertisement of the sport everywhere, even on the tube!

They have done an amazing job with the transportation to the event and both times we have traveled there, it has been a breeze, even with the high level of traffic. We were in the stadium an hour before the match started as we took in the atmosphere and it slowly filled as we got closer to the start time. The PA announced the teams entering and it was game on! I can not explain how excited we were to be watching the worlds best players on the table; and the best bit, there were going to be at least 3 matches played!! The video below shows how close we really were to the action!


Ma Long Vs Dimitri Ovtcharov

The first match was a real blockbuster. We had the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals winner and world number 2, Ma Long, playing the Bronze medal winning singles player, Dimitri Ovtcharov. The 1st set was close and before long they were tied at 5-5. Ma Long then stepped up the pace and won the next 2 points and continued to win the 1st set 12-10 after Ovtcharov saved 2 set points but it was not enough. The 2nd set was more successful for the German as he began to exploit the Chinese’s weaknesses and sending Ma Long left and right. He took a 7-4 lead and capitalised on that to take the 2nd set 11-5.

The 3rd set started with a little bit of comotion. If you were watching on TV you probably noticed a lot of booing. Now this was not anything to do with the players but a TV camera that was in the way of one of the spectators stands. They refused to move it and it upset the 500 or so that could not see the whole table.

The 3rd set did begin eventually and Ovtcharov looked solid again; maybe an upset was on the cards? He went 9-7 up and looked set to take the 3rd and a 2-1 lead, but no dice. Ma Long showed what happens if you show any weakness when playing the Chinese. He won the next 4 points in a row and thus took the 3rd set 11-9, a real blow for the German. The 4th, and subsequently final set, was a complete non contest. Ma Long took complete control over this game and quickly found himself 7-0 up. The crowd could sense a whitewash here and we were not far off it! Ma Long won the game 11-1 and the only point he gave away was a service fault at 10-0 up! Next up was the match I was really looking forward to; Timo Boll Vs Zhang Jike.

Timo Boll Vs Zhang Jike

We had some real personalities up against each other in this match. Everyone wrote of Timo for this match as Zhang Jike was in such good form coming into this game after his gold medal in the singles, but we got a really competitive match. The first set started off very evenly and Timo Boll found himself up 8-7. However the Chinese grit came out on top and a few unforced errors meant that Jike won 4 points on the bounce and took the 1st set 11-8.

In the 2nd Timo took a fast 5-0 lead with some great winning shots and defensive work. He then pushed on and found himself a point off winning the set at 10-4 up however Jike was not done and push back taking the set to 10-8. Boll called a Time out and took a breath, walked back to the table and took the set winning point and second set 11-8- the crowd go wild.

The 3rd set went by in a flash and Timo really carried the momentum over from the previous set and took an early lead. He missed out on a set point at 10-8 to move to 10-9 then held his nerve to secure that all important 3rd set and take a 2-1 lead. The 4th set was going to be very important as it could swing the momentum in China’s favour if Jike won, or secure victory for Germany’s Boll. It was a real nail biter and was by no means a walk in the park. But Timo held his nerve and took the final set 11-8 with a real superstars display. He came into this match on poor form but really showed good sticking power with the victory over the world number 1 ranked Jike.

Doubles Match

The doubles line up was: China’s Wang Hoa and Zhang Jike playing Germany’s Timo Boll and Bastian Steger. The 1st set started after a short warm up and team discussion, time to watch 4 of the worlds best playing all on one table! Germany were a real suprise in the 1st set, leading almost the whole time and showed great defensive work with some well placed returns. They also timed attacks to perfection. They were 6-5 up and looking strong, as the teams traded points. The match was at 10-10 and it could have gone either way…But Germany took advantage and the 1st set was theirs at 12-10. Upset on the cards?

The 2nd set was not as tight as the Chinese begun to settle down and control the play. They stormed into an early lead and eventually won it 11-5. The set was a weak one for the Germans but most notably Steger as he may feel he let the side down with a serve fault and poor return gifting 2 points to the Chinese at a crucial time. The third set went by in a flash and the Chinese took it 11-5 again, with some great rallies on show.

The 4th set was to be decisive although not a give away. The Germans held the Chinese off but still trailed at 7-5 down. With some weak returns and poorly judged shots the Chinese walked to victory and now had a 2-1 lead in the team event. A disappointed German side walked back to the coach to prepare for the next singles event.

Ma Long Vs Bastian Steger

Ma Long wanted to carry on his flying form from the 1st game in the team event, and he did. He took an early lead and was 7-1 up in the 1st set with Steger. He capitalised on this and won the 1st set 11-3, allowing no room for the German who looked lacklustre. The 2nd set was more of a contest and the German had an opportunity to get a set point if he played out of his skin at 5-7. However he didn’t manage to win another point that set and Ma Long took a step closer to the overall result for the Chinese with an 11-5 win. Dimitri did not let Ma Long away without a fight and saved 2 match points but there was no stopping the eventual outcome and Ma Long took the final set 11-7.

Check out ADPP’s account from the 1st day’s play at the ExCel Arena for the London 2012 Olympics. We see Team GB in action on the Singles front… click here

Ping! London have started putting up Table Tennis Tables all around the UK. With the help of the ETTA and the National Lottery Fund Click here