by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The top seeds they used their speed to good effect to beat the Korean combination of Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu, the no.4 seeds, in their penultimate round encounter. They recorded a six games win (11-3, 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6).
Success for Japan but in the counterpart Men’s Doubles semi-final, it was defeat for the Land of the Rising Sun.
Koki Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura, the no.9 seeds, experienced defeat at the hands of China’s Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the no.3 seeds (11-7, 11-2, 11-7, 11-4).
“Me, Oshima and the coach will look at the Chinese matches and find some tactics. They are big and we are small. We have to stand up and stay close to the table, short short, flick, banana flick but first a lot of eating and sleeping.” Masataka Morizono
Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin overpowered Koki Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura; however, despite defeat, Maharu Yoshimura could look back on the day with great pride.
Earlier, he had secured gold in the Mixed Doubles event in harness with Kasumi Ishikawa; two medals in one day at World Championships is quite an achievement.
Add the silver won two years earlier in the Mixed Doubles with Kasumi Ishikawa in Suzhou, the silver last year at the Perfect World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur and the total is four in number.
Compare that with Vladimir Samsonov, acknowledged as one of the greats of sport; he has one medal less in what is now 25 years of competing in the global event, he made his debut in Gothenburg in 1993.
In 1997 in London he was the Men’s Singles runner up; partnering Croatia’s Zoran Primorac in the Men’s Doubles event, he was the silver medallist in Tiuanjin in 1995 and bronze medallist in 1999 in Eindhoven.
The Liebherr 2017 World Championships may have ended in defeat for Maharu Yoshimura but it ended with yet another medal; two events two medals, he did not play in the Men’s Singles event.