by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.5 seed, beat Yuya Oshima, the no.14 seed (10-12, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 13-15, 11-6), before rather more comfortably Wong Chun Ting, the no.6 seed, ended the hopes of qualifier, Masaki Yoshida (11-9, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5).
A close encounter between Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Yuya Oshima, it was to be anticipated. Two years ago on the ITTF World Tour in China, Yuya Oshima had emerged successful in seven games; earlier this year in India it had been a similar verdict, only on this occasion in favour of Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
Once again, the engagement went the full distance and, as the decisive seventh game commenced, it appeared the momentum was with Yuya Oshima. In the sixth game he had saved two match points, before on his third game point, emerging successful.
He came out of the blocks buzzing, searching for his favoured forehand at every opportunity and arguably that was to prove his downfall, as Dimitrij Ovtcharov employed his strong backhand down the parallel to seize the advantage.
Yuya Oshima won the first two points of the decider but at the change of ends it was a one point advantage in favour of Dimitrij Ovtcharov; who by moving to the forehand to serve in his trademark backhand style had changed the geometry of the play. He was able to execute his backhand early in the rally and most pertinently create angles.
At 6-all, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting the contest was in the balance but playing more positively than at the end of the sixth game, Dimitrij Ovtcharov did not lose another point; a place in the penultimate round was secured.
“I tried to play a lot of my backhands down the line because he’s always wanting to step around to play his forehand; this kind of system is tough for me, I prefer players who play more backhands.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
Serve, receive of serve, as in all such high level contests was crucial; in the ensuing duel between Wong Chun Ting and Masaki Yoshida, that factor was even more pronounced.
Wong Chun Ting dominated that aspect of the contest from start to finish, over the table he used his pen-hold grip to good effect; he gave Masaki Yoshida minimal time to react.
Pressurised, Masaki Yoshida made errors, Wong Chun Ting was dominant; a semi-final place was reserved in quick-fire style.
The semi-final contest between Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Wong Chun Ting is scheduled for later in the day at 8.00pm (local time).