by Wade Townsend
Brink of defeat
Day Three in Olomouc finished on a high note as kid table tennis, Tomokazu Harimoto, saved five match points against Brazil’s Hugo Calderano to book his place in the final of the Men’s Singles event.
The players exchanged the fifth and sixth games 11-9 a piece, while the seventh game went all the way to 16-14, with the Japanese star closing out the game on his first match point.
The pair had also endured full distance matches in the previous round, with both visibly battling fatigue in the later stages of their encounter.
It’s in stark contrast to the top half the draw where no.1 seed Timo Boll won both his quarterfinal and semifinal appearances in straight games. Sweden’s Par Gerrel was his first victim, followed up by reigning European Champion Emmanuel Lebesson.
“It was important to have a good start. I had a great start, I had a good rhythm from the beginning and in the next three games I was mentally quite strong. When it was close, I made the right decisions.” Timo Boll
Japan rises to the top
The Women’s Singles final will be an all Japanese affair after Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito progressed through their semifinal matches in Olomouc.
Ito dropped just one game in her match with German defender and no.2 seed Han Ying, looking in complete control of the match. It was an upset of sorts, at least on paper, with Ito sitting two places below Han on the current World Ranking.
“I am happy that I won this game but I am very tired and out of breath. I like playing against defensive players.” Mima Ito
Meanwhile top seed Kasumi Ishikawa was untroubled by teammate Yui Hamamoto, winning in straight games.
Checkout the full review of day’s action below.