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Persson aims to break Chinese wall in Olympic table tennis semifinal
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19:33, August 22, 2008

Swedish veteran Jorgen Persson said that he hopes to derail the Chinese juggernaut in table tennis after edging out Zoran Primorac of Croatia to reach the singles semifinal of the Beijing Olympic Games on Friday.

Persson, 42, outlasted Primorac 4-1, drawing cheers from spectators with their long rallies and smashes.

Persson lost the opening game, but came back strong to take the rest of the match, notching up a 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 14-12 and 11-9 victory over Primorac.

"I was active in the match and is pleased with the result," the sixth-time Olympian said. Persson snatched down 5th-ranked Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus 4-3 to reach the top eight, the second-best result he achieved after finishing fourth at the Sydney 2000 Games.

Persson said he didn't think too much about his age because he feels strong and moves very good.

"For me, the most important thing is to stay aggressive and take my chance," the Swede said. "You have to trust your own game."

Persson will play China's Wang Hao in the semifinals. After days of intensive battles on the court, Persson is the only surviving European paddler.

"To break the Chinese wall is difficult and it is breakable. Look at the history of Olympics. Among the five (men's singles) gold medals, there are two Chinese, two Koreans and one Swede," he said.

Primorac said he was amazed with the level Chinese paddlers have displayed in the team event as well as the singles competition.

"Wang Hao, Ma Lin and Wang Liqin have improved their backhands as well as their physique compared with four years ago," he said.

Primorac singled out Wang Linqin for his strong muscles and quick movement in playing. The 39-year-old beat Michael Maze of Denmark 4-2 to reach the top 16.

As for whether he will bow out or continue to play, Persson said he would first take this Olympic tournament.

"Then we'll have to see what happens after this," Persson said, adding that he is healthy expect for a stable neck problem.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 46 15 22 83
2 USA 30 35 34 99
3 Great Britain 17 12 11 40
4 Russia 16 16 20 52
5 Australia 11 13 14 38
6 Germany 11 14 14 39
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