by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Both accounted for qualifiers; Timo Boll, the top seed, beat Sweden’s Pär Gerell (11-6, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7); Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.8 seed, overcame Japan’s Jin Ueda (11-13, 12-10, 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6).
Success for Timo Boll and it was success very much as anticipated against a player from the same generation; at 36 years of age Timo Boll is one year older than the Swede. He had met Pär Gerell on four previous occasions in world ranking events and he had won all three; he prevailed on the ITTF World Tour in 2009 at the English Open and in 2013 on home soil in Germany.
Meanwhile, at the Liebherr European Championships, he was successful in 2010 in Ostrava and more recently, last year in Budapest.
“We have played many times against each other. I have a good record against him. I think I have a very good system against him. He is normally a very good server but I can receive quite easily, so this is a big advantage against him. I played very serious, concentrated but I made too many easy mistakes. I am 36 years old, so I am not as fit as the young guys. I have good concentration and experience; so it was good for me just to play just four games.” Timo Boll
Meanwhile, for Emmanuel Lebesson it was the first time in a world ranking event that he had played Jin Ueda.
“It was like yesterday, it was a very close match, he led one-nil and 10-4; if it had been two-nil, it would have not been over for me but it would have been really hard to come back. He would have had more confidence, because he would have been leading. After the second game, I felt that he did not feel in good shape, because he lost this very important game. After that I tried to continue playing my game. He made more and more mistakes and I made more and more good receives. After that I had more opportunities after my serve to take advantage of the point in the rallies. In the fifth game, I lost 11-9 and I hoped that my chances were not over. I tried to continue, I hoped that I would have more opportunities in the next game, I am so happy to win this game.” Emmanuel Lebesson.
Timo Boll and Emmanuel Lebesson now meet in the semi-finals; the match is scheduled for later in the day at approximately 8.20pm (local time)