by Wade Townsend
Top two tested, only one passes
The Men’s Singles gave the spectators their money’s worth of entertainment. Six of the eight matches went the full distance. Both the no.1 and no.2 seeds were involved in these seven game encounters. For top seed Timo Boll, it was a victory, for Kenta Matsudaira it was a defeat.
Japan’s Matsudaira fell to Hugo Calderano. The Brazilian was zero from two coming in to the match, but third time’s a charm.
“I think I played really well, Kenta is a very good player; I lost to him before twice. It was a very tough match. He has good services but I managed to do well in the service receive game.” Hugo Calderano
Timo Boll came from 1-3 down and was able to grind out a seven game win doing what he does best; speed, spin and placement and always finding a way to be behind the ball.
“Xu Fei played very well and put a lot of pressure on me; from the end of the fifth game onwards, I played with more variety and moved better.” Timo Boll
Sweden were two points away from securing three places in the quarterfinals, with Par Gerrel and Kristian Karllson both progressing in seven games. But Emmanuel Lebesson, spoiled the party. The Frenchman defeated big serving Anton Kallberg 11-9 in the seventh.
And then there were three
Georgina Pota, Han Ying, and Huang Yi-Hua are the three players left standing in the way of complete Japanese domination. Pota, who says she felt slow the last few months, moved her game up a gear and saw off Miyu Maeda in five games, while Han Ying’s progress marked a blow to the European contingent as she eliminated Sofia Polcanova.
In Huang’s match against Mizuki Morizono, the player from Chinese Taipei got off to a perfect start, winning the opening game 11-0; no mercy was shown and for good reason. Morizono was able to claw two games on to the board. But Huang took the match 4-2.
Meanwhile, the top of the draw almost saw a big name making an early exit. Matilda Ekholm came close to taking down the no.1 seed Kasumi Ishikawa. The match went to seven games, but the queen of Japanese table tennis led from the start of the encounter and was able to close out the match for the win.
Doubles by numbers
In the Men’s Doubles the top two seeds both progressed through to the final. Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth have just dropped one game along the way and looked imperious as they took down the wildcard pair from China in the semifinal. Meanwhile, Japan’s Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura had a testing time in their semifinal. They had to come from 0-2 down against Hugo Calderano and Simon Gauzy. The Japanese duo have now survived consecutive five game matches.
In the Women’s Doubles Georgina Pota and Matilda Ekholm have a booked their place in the final, defending their status as no.2 seed. While at the top of the draw, no.1 seeds are out, but it wasn’t a particularly surprising result. Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato fell to compatriots Hina Hayata and Mima Ito in straight games.