21 Mar 2017

An opening game between Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic, which must be some sort of record, was very much the focus of attraction as the fourth round of the Men’s Singles event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games came to a conclusion on the evening of Monday 7th August.

However, the duel between the two Europeans was not to provide the closest outcome; that was the lot of Japan’s Koki Niwa and Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting in the one contest that provided an upset.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Bojan Tokic eventually won the first game against Dimitrij Ovtcharov 33-31, the affair lasting 26 minutes! However, it was not to success for the Slovenian; Dimitrij Ovtcharov recovered to secure the next four games to justify his third seeded spot and reach the last eight. Eventually a five games win was the outcome (31-33, 12-10, 11-5, 11-4, 11-7).


“I think it was the longest game since the rule was change”, said Dimitrij Ovtcharov, aware that once upon a time we played to 21 points.

“I was very disappointed that I didn’t win that game but I said to myself that it is only one of seven”, added Dimitrij Ovtcharov. “I thought he might be tired because he is older than me; I said to myself play your best and keep trying, I think that from game three, I showed my best performance during the Olympic Games.”

Seven Games

Conversely the contest between Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.17 seed and Wong Chun Ting, the no.6 seed, needed a seventh game to decide the outcome; furthermore it looked in the seventh game that he might have missed his chance.

In the decider, he established a 5-1 lead; Wong Chun Ting levelled but was never able to seize and advantage, Koki Niwa emerged successful (6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8).

“I became nervous; that why I lost those four points”, said Koki Niwa. “It was a really tough match, playing Wong Chun Ting you must play strongly; his top spin play is very good.”

Zhang Jike and Vladimir Samsonov

Success for Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Koki Niwa; there were also successes for China’s Zhang Jike and Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus.

Zhang Jike, the no.2 seed, beat Romania’s Adrian Crisan (11-8, 11-9, 14-12, 11-5); Vladimir Samsonov ended the progress of Great Britain’s Paul Drinkhall (11-9, 11-6, 11-8, 15-17, 7-11, 11-8).

“I didn’t change my strategy after losing the third game, I wanted to win”, said Vladimir Samsonov. “I didn’t think in that moment that I had already won the match, I just continued to play; I had seven game points in the fourth game and lost.”


At the quarter-final stage Vladimir Samsonov meets Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Zhang Jike opposes Koki Niwa; the matches will be played on Tuesday 9th August.

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