by Wade Townsend
Youth and experience
In the Men’s Singles Timo Boll and Par Gerell will clash at the top of the draw. Boll leads their head to head with four wins and zero losses; it’s hard to argue against those stats. But both aren’t in their youth and are coming off the back of seven game encounters in the previous round. Gerell has the bigger serve and has the ability to win quick points. If Boll’s first attack percentage drops, then the no.1 seed could be in trouble.
The bottom half of the draw has a more youthful appearance. While other players have made it through to the quarterfinal stage a little bruised, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju has snuck his way past any real damage. He is ranked 210 in the world but is playing well above that level here in Olomouc. His opponent will be Hugo Calderano. The Brazilian comes in to the match favourite and will be confident coming in to the match after taking down the no.2 seed Kenta Matsudaira in the previous round. Lin will have to hope his opponent backs away from the table so he can find the angles with some quick shot making. But Calderano will most likely have too much spin and power for the challenger.
Decade of defence
In the main draw of the Women’s Singles both Han Ying and Honoka Hashimoto have both reached the quarterfinal without dropping a game. This will have to change when the players meet in today’s match. The German is the no.2 seed and has more than decade of experience on her opponent. When it comes to the art of defence experience usually outs youth. Han has the superior reach on the court and mentally has the upper hand when it comes to patience; she won’t be in a rush to finish the points. Expect Hashimoto to take the initiative to attack as she is unlikely to win a pushing war.
Mima Ito and Georgina Pota may provide the most interesting quarterfinal matchup. They have only played against once before, and that was three years ago. On that one and only occasion it was the Hungarian that got the upper hand. Ito sits some twenty places above Pota on the current World Ranking list, so it is difficult to say who is favourite heading in to the match. Pota can play aggressive off both wings of the court, while Ito will be reliant on finding her timing to make strong counter plays. If the Hungarian can vary the speed and spin out wide to her opponent’s forehand then there could be an upset on the cards.