The mixed associations partnership between reigning World & Olympic Champion MA Long (CHN) with World number eight Timo BOLL (GER) commenced action in the first round of men’s doubles event in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Despite having only one training session together prior to the highly anticipated match, the experienced duo faced little difficulties with their coordination, breezing through to the round of 32 with a 4-0 victory to start their 2017 World Championships quest.
“The match went well and thanks to BOLL, I had the privilege to play on the main table in the main competition venue, that will be helpful to me in preparing for my upcoming matches. I’m very happy to partner BOLL, competing on his home soil, a lot of the local spectators were cheering for us, and we hope to do our best to reciprocate their support for us,” shared MA.
Responding to BOLL’s comment that his English has improved to ease communication between the duo, the 28-year-old jokingly replied that “BOLL probably know that my vocabulary is rather limited, so he’s been communicating to me using simpler terms to make our communication easier.”
Denmark’s Jonathan GROTH has had a tense evening, competing in both the Men’s Doubles (with host country’s Patrick FRANZISKA) and Mixed Doubles (with China’s FENG Yalan), winning both matches narrowly by a two-point margin in the deciders.
At 13-13 in GROTH / FRANZISKA’s deciding game against Romanian pair Adrian CRISAN and Ovidiu IONESCU, a controversial point was hit that the umpires originally gave the point to CRISAN / IONESCU. The Danish disagreed, believing that the point had touched the edge. After much debate, the Romanian pair showed act of fair play and good sportsmanship to give the point to GROTH / FRANZISKA, eventually losing the game 13-15 to end their run in the Men’s Doubles event.
Fans around the world can expect an action-packed day as battle for the World Championships Singles titles will official start with main draw knockout matches tomorrow.
Japanese sensation Tomokazu HARIMOTO who became the youngest ever World Junior Champion at 13-years-old last year in Cape Town will be playing his first senior World Championships match against Belgium’s Cedric NUYTINCK.
HARIMOTO’s teammate Miu HIRANO, who upset three top ranked Chinese players, including World and Olympic Champion DING Ning, to claim the title at the Asian Championships last month, will face off African Champion Olufunke OSHONAIKE (NGR).
One of the main contenders for the Women’s crown, HIRANO has had a good draw, avoiding all her opponents in her quarter, and is expected to meet them only in the semi-finals.
More exciting action continues tomorrow from 10:00 local time (GMT+2), with EIGHT tables of live streaming on ITTF online streaming platform itTV: tv.ITTF.com
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