by Wade Townsend
There were no upsets in the first last 16 matches of the Men’s Singles at the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships, as the higher seeds moved another step close to the podium.
Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) defeated Lubomir Pistej (SVK) 4-1 and moved in to the quarter-final at his World Championships debut.
“I want to do the same as I did as before in each match, so I just want to play my game and think from match to match.” Tomokazu Harimoto
Harimoto’s domestic performance hadn’t been so hot as suffered surprise defeats at the All Japan Championships earlier in the year. But now on the world stage he has stepped up his game.
“Because I lost, I practiced more and more and really gave my best for this championships.” Tomokazu Harimoto
Pistej at times unorthodox shot selection seemed to be troubling Harimoto, and he was to taking every game he lost, but just couldn’t get over the line.
“Of course I am happy to have made the last 16. I played well but in this match I kept getting faulted; it’s the first time I had been faulted at this tournament. So with the scores so close this made things difficult. But there are things I could have done better, and he played well too.” Lubomir Pistej
Fan Zhendong (CHN) kept Ruwen Filus (GER) and the German supporters at bay with a 4-2 win.
“The home country audience is not something I can control. His home audience cheering for him may have given him a stronger atmosphere and more support. I think that being able to win in this situation is worth acknowledging. Before the match, I have not played with him in a while, so I sensed some changes from him in the beginning. At first, I could not really follow up on his change, so later on my shots were more accurate.” Fan Zhendong