by Wade Townsend
Risk taker: Lee Sangsu (KOR) shook the world today when he defeated the two time World Champion, Zhang Jike (CHN) 4-1. With the score at 11-10 in the fifth, he served long. It worked, but what was he thinking?!
“He could deal with everything else. It was the only serve I had left to use!” Lee Sangsu
1969: It is the year that man first walked on the . It was also the last time that Japan won a medal in Women’s Singles. With NASA announcing this year that they are planning to restart their lunar missions, it only seems fitting that Japan have secured a medal at the World Championships once again.
“I did not know that it has been so long that Japan had won a medal, I am a bit surprised. I am happy to have this record, and that this will be in the history books.” Miu Hirano
20 years on: Vladimir Samsonov has been a contender for the title for more than two decades. He came close in 1997, but he ran in to Jan-Ove Waldner in the final. Let’s be frank, with Zhang Jike out, that section of the draw has opened up, and Vladi looks ready to pounce at the opportunity to get back on the podium. He says he is back down to his Rio Olympics weight, and he is looking very relaxed on the table. But he is going to have to get through the giant killer Lee Sangsu.
“I played against him twice, I beat him last year at the Kuwait Open and then I lost to him at the World Cup. It’s a tough game obviously. If he can beat Zhang Jike he is probably in great form.” Vladimir Samsonov
Simpatico: In Suzhou 2015, Mastaka Morizono and Yuya Oshima lost in the quarter-final of the Men’s Doubles to Xu Xin and Zhang Jike 4-3. The pair went down in the final game 12-10, after having multiple match points. Today they moved through the semi-final, and as number one seeds, are looking favourites for the title.
“I am now very happy. Two years ago we lost. But in these two years we practice so much; every day we practice doubles. Now we have better technique, make a better combination, and have better trust.” Masataka Morizono
Mima Ito and Hina Hayata also are in to the semi-finals. They became the youngest Japanese duo to do so when they beat Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching in the quarter-finals. According to Mima they are twinning their way to the medal.
“We both are the same age, and thus have the same hobbies and interests. So the combination is really good. We enjoy playing together.” Mima Ito
Checkout the gallery below for the best ‘shots’ of the day: