by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The six games win recorded by the Nigerian was centrepiece (12-10, 12-10, 11-5, 3-11, 5-11, 11-6) but very nearly he was upstaged by Korea’s Jung Youngsik, the no.9 seed, who won the first two games before Ma Long recovered (6-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-1, 13-11, 13-11).
“I was impatient in the first two games, I had chances establish a lead but I was too eager to try to widen the gap; that caused me to make too many mistakes”, said Ma Long. “He is still young and has a lot of potential, he has improved a lot over the past two years and is one of our top opponents; he played well in the match and gave me a lot of trouble.”
End of Road
Success for Ma Long, with the tiered seating packed and cacophony of noise, it was success for Jun Mizutani; he ended the hopes of the host nation’s Hugo Calderano, like Ma Long in six games (11-5, 11-6, 11-13, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10).
“He is a very strong player, he knows how to win; at first I couldn’t adapt to his playing style but then I became confident and managed to level at two-all”, said Hugo Calderano. “I know I could have won the last two games, these were very close but things turned out in this way eventually; he is a great player and knows how to play in crucial moments, I missed some details but I hope to learn about it in the next years .”
Tense, close contests, the one remaining duel was less dramatic; Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.8 seed, accounted for Ukraine’s Kou Lei in four straight games (11-8, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7).
At the quarter-final stage Ma Long meets Quadri Aruna, Marcos Freitas faces Jun Mizutani; the matches will be played on Tuesday 9th August.