by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Recovery and attempted recovery; that was the order of the afternoon for Hong Kong in the first two encounters as Tang Peng succeeded and Wong Chun Ting just fell short.
Tang Peng fought back from a two games to nil deficit to beat Koki Niwa (8-10, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8), before in the second match of the fixture, Wong Chun Ting threatened to do the same, He lost the first two games against Jun Mizutani before recovering to win the next three.
Alas for Hong Kong, Wong Chun Ting was not able to complete the recovery, Jun Mizutani was not to be denied, he emerged successful but there were nervous moments (11-5, 11-9, 3-11, 10-12, 11-8).
“I was fighting just because Koki lost the first match. I thought that if I lose we are not going to make it into semi-finals. I was motivated, there was pressure but I used it to my advantage.” Jun Mizutani
It was tense times in Riocentro Pavilion 3; the tension of the moment was expressed in the reaction expressed by Jun Mizutani when he secured the last point.
Jumping in the air, fist aloft, he celebrated as though he had won a Men’s Singles title at a major international tournament.
Matters level, Japan seized the lead courtesy of Maharu Yoshimura and Koki Niwa, they beat the combination of Ho Kwan Kit and Tang Peng in four games (11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4).
Success for Maharu Yoshimura, in the next match of the contest there was more success; against expectations, currently listed at no. 21 on the Men’s World Rankings, he overcame Wong Chun Ting, named at no.8 in four games (11-8, 13-11, 5-11, 11-6) to seal a Japanese success.
“The fourth match was really important, of course. It was really a big pressure for me but we have the Men’s Singles bronze medallist. It is good to have Jun Mizutani, because he gives power to the team. If I had lost Jun would play the fifth match, have Jun in the team makes me mentally stronger and gives me confidence.” Maharu Yoshimura
At the semi-final stage Japan meets Germany; the fixture is scheduled for 7.30pm on Monday 15th August.