19 Aug 2017

Success after success for Japan, in Panagyurishte time and time again contrary to the status quo; as the quarter-final matches in the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open came to a close on the afternoon of Saturday 19th August, it was the reverse scenario. It was the land of the setting sun, not the rising sun.

Leading names in the guise of Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed and Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.3 seed, both emerged successful against Japanese qualifiers.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Dimitrij Ovtcharov beat Mizuki Oikawa, the winner three days earlier of the Men’s Singles event. He prevailed in a contest that was a total anti-climax; after losing the first game 11-6, Mizuki Oikawa withdrew from the contest, nursing his right shoulder.

Success in quick-fire time; for Quadri Aruna, he needed somewhat longer to end the hopes of Asuka Machi, the player who had won the Under 21 Men’s Singles title at the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Bangkok.

Eventually Quadri Aruna emerged victorious in five games (11-3, 6-11, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6).

Undoubtedly, the crucial stage of the contest came in the fourth game with Quadri Aruna two-one ahead. Asuka Machi established a 6-3 lead. Determined Quadri Aruna responded; he won the next two points to reduce the deficit to one point.

Danger signs looming, Asuka Machi called “Time Out” but the immediate beneficiary from the break was Quadri Aruna, he won the next point to level at 6-all; to his credit Asuka Machi remained calm and focused. He won four of the next five points to lead 10-7; the contest was on the brink of parity.

Straining very sinew to play his long expansive forehand, Quadri Aruna responded. He won the next five points to steal the game and turn the match inexorably in his favour.

In the fifth game, as Asuka Machi made errors, Quadri Aruna moved from 3-all to 5-3 and then 9-5. Asuka Machi won the next point; cautiously Quadri Aruna elected for “Time Out”. It was a prudent move; he won the next two points and celebrated, a place in the semi-final against Dimitrij Ovtcharov was assured.

The semi-final contest is scheduled for later in the evening as is the counterpart penultimate round duel between the Japanese duo of Kenta Matsudaira and Kenta Tazoe.

World Tour 2017 Seamaster Asarel Bulgaria Open Dimitrij Ovtcharov Quadri Aruna

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Day 4 - 2017 ITTF Asarel Bulgaria Open

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