by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The no.5 seeds, they accounted for Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, the top seeds and the partnership that prior to play commencing in Stockholm headed the ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles Standings.
In a contest that could not have been closer, ever game decided by the minimal two point margin, the Brazilians emerged successful in a tense but high class full distance duel (11-8, 11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9).
Once again the combination of the fast attacking skills of the left handed Gustavo Tsuboi in partnership with the powerful right handed techniques of Hugo Calderano proved successful; just as at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open. On that occasion at the semi-final stage of the Men’s Doubles event, they beat the combination of Croatia’s Tan Ruiwu and Poland’s Wang Zengyi (11-7, 11-8, 11-9), at the time the reigning European champions.
A surprise and with the contest so closely fought it was the match to attract the attention but in terms of an upset, arguably the efforts of Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira and Jin Ueda alongside the French combination of Antoine Hachard and Stéphane Ouaiche matched the Brazilians in the unexpected result department.
Neither pair seeded, Kenta Matsudaira and Jin Ueda beat colleagues Koki Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura, the no.2 seeds (11-4, 11-5, 11-6); Antoine Hachard and Stéphane Ouaiche overcame China’s Zhao Zihao and Zhou Yu in a contest that almost matched the drama of the Brazilian success.
The French duo emerged successful by the very narrowest of decisions (12-10, 4-11, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10).
Furthermore, you can add one further factor to the equation in the argument that the French pairing caused the biggest upset of the round. Zhou Yu is very much a doubles expert; partnering Fan Zhendong he was the runner up in the Men’s Doubles event at the Qoros 2015 World Championships in Suzhou.
Three upsets, the one remaining surprise may be considered no surprise at all; the winners the previous week in Austria, Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth, the no.6 seeds, ended Swedish hopes. They beat Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson, the no.4 seeds (8-11, 11-6, 13-11, 12-10).
“It was a really good match and really close. We were a bit lucky to win. It could have gone either way. Maybe we were a bit more aggressive at the end of game three and four and that it worked in or favour. Jonathan has a really good in the short game, great serve and receive and of course a really good forehand. It’s easy to play with him and we know each other really well on a personal level since we played together for a year in Düsseldorf a couple of years ago”, Patrick Franziska
“It was so close. They are really good so I am glad we could win. Maybe we were one per cent better since we won the two last games with the smallest of margins but it really could have gone either way. Patrick has a good short game and can do anything with his receives; he flicks well with both forehand and backhand. He doesn’t have any weaknesses as a doubles player and it feels so good to have a doubles partner which you can trust. We think really alike and even if we miss one point we both almost always think the decision was right”, Jonathan Groth
At the semi-final stage Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi meet Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth; Antoine Hachard and Stéphane Ouaiche oppose Kenta Matsudaira and Jin Ueda.