by Simon Daish
Prior to the 2016 Swedish Open Dimitrij Ovtcharov had been involved in 19 ITTF World Tour semi-finals encounters, with 11 of those matches resulting in success for the German player.
This was the first time that Dimitrij Ovtcharov had met Mattias Karlsson on the World Tour stage and the Swedish athlete will be very happy with his performance in the semi-final after managing to cause an almighty upset to reach his first final in the Men’s Singles category. Seeded 15 places above his opponent Dimitrij Ovtcharov went into the tie as the favourite to progress from the last four, but it was Sweden’s Karlsson who made the brighter start, taking the opening game in deuce.
Then it was a case of both players picking up alternating game wins across the next four ends; there could only be one winner, however, and that turned out to be the home contestant Mattias Karlsson who took the seventh game by a four point margin to move through to the final (12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7).
“It feels so fantastic. I played so well against him (Dimitrij Ovtcharov). I hade some problems with his backhand service, it has so much spin but I received better in the fifth and sixth games; that was the key for victory. The most important game to win; the last one! I’m not done yet. I will clinch the last match too!” – Mattias Karlsson (Sweden).
Undoubtedly Dimitrij Ovtcharov will finish the year in a top 15 place on the ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles Standings, necessary to qualify for the Seamaster, Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Doha next month; but he will not finish in the top eight. Seeding is as per the positions on the Standings following play in Stockholm; potentially a very difficult opening round awaits the German in the Gulf State.
Yuya Oshima and Kenta Matsudaira went head-to-head in an all-Japanese semi-finals battle in Stockholm, with both players looking to progress to the final of a World Tour event for the second time.
Both Oshima and Matsudaira have experienced title triumphs at previous World Tour competitions: Oshima captured the 2015 Philippines Open gold medal and Matsudaira picked up his first Men’s Singles crown at the 2016 Austrian Open.
Despite heading into the 2016 Swedish Open off the back of his recent success in Linz, the 13th seed Matsudaira struggled to keep up with the pace of the No. 15 seed Oshima, who defeated Matsudaira with a powerful five games display in Stockholm (11-7, 13-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-5).
The 2016 Swedish Open final will not only be a fight for the title, but the victor will also receive the last available invitation for the Seamaster, Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Doha. So, which player will be handed the final invitation for the Grand Finals in December – Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson or Japan’s Yuya Oshima?
Sunday 20th November: Men’s Singles – Main Draw