by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Jeong Sangeun, the player who had ended the hopes of Ma Long at the recent Seamaster 2017 ITTF Asian Championships, also caused an upset; the no.44 seed, he accounted for Austria’s Stefan Fegerl, the no.18 seed (12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-1).
Delight for Korea, there was also disappointment as the host nation enjoyed success; Timo Boll, the no.8 seed, beat Jang Woojin, the no.32 seed (11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-5).
A relatively comfortable success for Timo Boll, for compatriot, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.5 seed, it was very different. He needed the full seven games to end the progress of Romania’s Hunor Szocs, the no.61 seed (11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-5).
“After the second game I thought I was on the right track and I was heading for a straight games victory. However, I became much too passive; Hunor took his chance and put me in difficult position.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov
Success for Dimitrij Ovtcharov signalled bedlam in the Messeplatz; so did the win later in the evening recorded by Ruwen Filus, the no.26 seed in opposition to Hong Kong’s Ng Pak Nam (11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-5).
However, throughout the whole pandemonium one player remained cool, calm and collected; the years of experience paramount. Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.12 seed, accounted for Panagiotis Gionis of Greece, the no.29 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5).
“Even I am surprised by the result. In the 1990s I had a good record against defensive players but Gionis beat me at the Olympic Qualifications in Sweden, at the European Championships and in club competitions. I really have a poor record against him in recent times; that is why I was very cautious. I played safe and I have to admit I took advantage of some luck. The luck came at the right moment.” Vladimir Samsonov
Success for Vladimir Samsonov and as proceedings concluded on the fifth day of action, there hard fought successes for two notable names.
Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.7 seed, was tested by Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson, the no.23 seed (12-10, 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 7-11, 14-12, 11-3); Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.14 seed, ended the hopes of Frenchman, Tristan Flore (11-4, 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10).
“This is table tennis; Flore knows me very well, we played in the same team for nearly six years, we know each other very well. I started very well and especially returned his service well. Flore didn´t have so many answers. Then I didn´t change anything and Flore played better and better and in games four to six I never led. I had always pressure and was fighting myself. In the last game it was 50:50, I fought and survived.” Marcos Freitas
Meanwhile, with the exception of Zhang Jike; it was success for the leading names in the third round of the Men’s Singles event. Notably, the Chinese trio of Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the top three seeds all enjoyed success.
Ma Long beat Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, the no.56 seed (11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5), Fan Zhendong accounted for Russia’s Alexander Shibaev, the no.27 seed (14-12, 11-4, 11-4, 11-13, 11-7); whilst Xu Xin defeated Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.26 seed (12-10, 7-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4).
Names to note and I give you two more. China’s Lin Gaoyuan, the no.33 seed and the player with golden hands, beat India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta, the no.43 seed (11-13, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4).
Not seeded, Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej accounted for Hungary’s Tamas Lakatos (11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7) to reserve his place in round four.