26 Feb 2017

Six years ago in February 2011, Japan’s Masaki Yoshida was making his presence felt; he won the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament in Sweden, part of the well-stablished Safirs International.

Now six years later on the evening of Friday 24th February, the now 22 year old made his presence felt once again; he caused the biggest upset of the tournament to date.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In the second round of the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2011 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open, he beat Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.6 seed, to reserve his place in the quarter-finals,

Not seeded, required to compete in the qualification tournament; presently listed at no.72 on the Men’s World Rankings, as opposed to Dimitrij Ovtharov who is at no.5, Masaki Yoshida won in six games (11-6, 6-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8).

Furthermore, the result ended the aspirations of Dimitrij Ovtcharov collecting four of titles in February. Earlier in the month he had won the Europe Top 12 in Antibes, followed by success in the Men’s Singles event at the DHS Lausanne Open and at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Indian Open.

An unexpected result but the results in the qualification tournament underlined the fact that he was a young man in form and gaining in self-belief.

“I had beaten good players in this tournament already so I was confident before the match today; I felt I was playing well. Yesterday I beat Jeoung Youngsik, in the qualification I had beaten Emmanuel Lebesson of France, the European champion. In the past when I have had a three-one lead or similar against a good player, I have become tense and lost; I just kept telling myself to relax, especially at the end of the match.

At the beginning of the match, he was so strong from the backhand, so I changed my tactic. I tried to play more to the middle and more to his forehand. It was very difficult to read his services; he varies the service so much; I tried to return the service positively by using the banana return. For sure this is the highest ranked player I have ever beaten”, Masaki Yoshida

Success for Masaki Yoshida and if that success is to continue, he must beat an even higher ranked player.

In the round of the last eight he faces Fan Zhendong, the player listed at no.2 on the current Men’s World Rankings and behind colleague Ma Long, the second seed in Doha. Imposingly, Fan Zhendong accounted for Spanish qualifier, Alvaro Robles (11-6, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10) to reserve his place in the quarter-finals.

Awaiting the winner of the duel between Fan Zhendong and Masaki Yoshida is either Fang Bo or Liang Jingkun. Fang Bo, the no.11 seed, reserved his last eight place courtesy of success against colleague, Xu Xin, the no.3 seed (11-6, 11-7, 14-12, 4-11, 4-11, 13-11); Liang Jingkun overcame fellow qualifier, Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson (11-6, 11-7, 14-12, 4-11, 4-11, 13-11) to set up all Chinese last eight duel.

The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played on Saturday 25th February.



World Tour 2017 Seamaster Qatar Open Dimitrij Ovtcharov Masaki Yoshida

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