by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A most impressive display, it was the very same in the ensuing contest, in similarly imposing fashion, Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.7 seed, ended the progress of Korea’s Kim Donghyun, like Tomokazu Harimoto, a player who had been required to compete in the two day qualification tournament. Timo Boll won in four straight games (11-8, 11-7, 11-1, 11-7).
Expect the unexpected, it was time and again the description that was afforded the Swedish legend, Jan-Ove Waldner, as he extolled his mercurial skills. Now, not necessarily in the manner in which he plays but in the way he approaches the task in hand, the same description can be afforded Tomokazu Harimoto. He enters the arena expecting to do the unexpected.
Against Koki Niwa, he played in a confident manner from the very start; no doubt the fact that he had beaten, colleague Jun Mizutani at the recent Liebherr 2017 World Championships and had progressed to the round of the last eight was a major boost. Even though still only 13 years old, he was no stranger to the big stage.
No stranger to the big stage; now 36 years old, most certainly that description befits Timo Boll. There is nothing new for the German who in 1995 in the Hague when just some four months older than the current age of Tomokazu Harimoto had won the Cadet Boys’ Singles title at the European Youth Championships.
Opposing Kim Donghyun, the experience gained over the years was evident. Changes of pace combined with changes of direction left his 22 year old opponent wrong footed time and again.
Now an intriguing semi-final awaits; Timo Boll is due to meet Tomokazu Harimoto later in the day. The match is scheduled for 8.45pm (local time).