China's triple world champion Wang Liqin gained an uneasy win over a much lower ranked teammate in the table tennis men's singles warm-up in Wuxi on Tuesday.
Wang 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.
Wang 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 at the beginning, rallied from 0-3 down to level the score with a 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 victory.
With the crowd chanting 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 Wang 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 Wang Liqin was beaten by third-ranked teenage prodigy Ma Long 3-2 in a marathon battle.
Earlier on Tuesday, Wang Hao denied 51st-ranked Zhang Jike's attempt to pull the encounter into full sets.
"I have maintained a stable form since the special training for the Olympics started one month ago," said Wang Hao, adding that he prefers to play with foreign paddlers because the Chinese players are quite familiar with each other.
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.
(Xinhua News Agency July 30, 2008)