by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, after the first two games of the contest had been concluded, it seemed that the result of last year was to be repeated.
Chuang Chih-Yuan, now 35 years old and one of the more experienced players on the international scene, dug deep. He won the next three games before losing the sixth and winning the seventh (9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8).
“I lost to him twice last year, here in Qatar and later at the Asian Cup. He has improved a great deal, he is especially good from the backhand; he plays with such a lot of spin. Mentally I was good today; I felt calm throughout the match even though at one stage I was two-nil down”, Chuang Chih-Yuan.
Success for Chuang Chih-Yuan was both a seeding upset and back to winning ways. Chuang Chih-Yuan was the no.10 seed, Wong Chun Ting was the no.7 seed.
Furthermore, the defeat one year ago was the first time Chuang Chih-Yuan had lost to Wong Chun-Ting on the international stage; they had met on four previous occasions, Chuang Chih-Yuan had won all four.
A recovery from Chuang Chih-Yuan to achieve success; it was the same from Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.12 seed in opposition to Croatian qualifier, Tomislav Pucar. He fought back from three games to one in arrears to record a seven games success (4-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-6, 11-6).
“It is the first time that I have played against him; quite simply in the first part of the match he played very well. He received service well, he was very strong from the backhand playing; especially playing the ball down the parallel. He took some risks and I was a little passive. After the fourth game I played better I made good starts and he started to make some mistakes. In a seventh game anything can happen but I was more confident having won the last two games. I was very focused, I tried to make sure I was consistent, I concentrated on putting the ball on the table”, Marcos Freitas
Success for Chuang Chih-Yuan and Marcos Freitas; there was also success for China’s Ma Long as the top half of the draw progressed. The top seed, he accounted for the host association’s Li Ping, the no.15 seed (11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9).
A place in the quarter-finals for Ma Long, not for Zhang Jike, the no.4 seed; a high temperature forced his withdrawal when due to face Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.13 seed.
At the semi-final stage Ma Long meets Marcos Freitas, Chuang Chih-Yuan opposes Koki Niwa.