by Simon Daish
Two Games Away From Glory
Grigory Vlasov met Lim Jonghoon (Korea Republic) in the quarter-finals, as the second seed took on seed number seven.
The two players had never met on the World Tour prior to the 2016 Belarus Open, so an exciting sense of unpredictability surrounded the encounter and it was Vlasov who went ahead after a close opening game.
Lim is ranked nearly 60 places below Vlasov in the ITTF world rankings, but the Korean player gave his opponent a gentle reminder that he meant business in the encounter by bringing the scores level at 1-1.
Vlasov needed to make a positive response or risk giving Lim a confidence boost, and the Russian upped his performance stealing three games in a row to qualify for day five’s semi-finals (11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10).
“The match was tense. In the quarter-final I played calmly and confidently. I think I get better with each meeting. This is the first time I reached the semi-final at a Minsk tournament” – Grigory Vlasov (Russia).
Another European through to the last four is Hunor Szocs who enjoyed a fine showing for the second day in succession, beating Kirill Skachkov (Russia) in four straight games.
All-Korean Final on the Cards?
Two of the four semi-finals spots have been taken by Korea Republic, following victories from Jang Woojin and Cho Eonrae.
Jang faced a difficult tie with his fellow compatriot Park Ganghyeon in the last eight, with the two rivals having already faced each other earlier in the day in the Men’s Doubles tournament. The Men’s Singles match saw Park take game one by three points, however, back-to-back successful ends reversed the situation with Jang going 2-1 in front.
Park Ganghyeon kept up the fight and managed to pull a game back in the fourth end, but his opponent proved a step too far for the 20-year-old as game five and six completed the win for Jang Woojin.
The other semi-finalist is Cho Eonrae who will head into the next round off the back of a 4-0 victory over Denys Kalachevskyi (Ukraine). After the match the Korean player gave a quick word about his quarter-final success, “There are a lot of defensive players in the hall where I train, so today I was able to select tactics properly.” Cho added, “I’m glad I was able to get into the semi-finals. The last tournament I won was in Brazil in 2006.”
Saturday 10th September: Men’s Singles – Main Event