by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A good omen for Ma Long and a reason for a belated celebration; Friday 20th October was his 29th birthday.
Success for Ma Long and as he was progressing to victory there was also success for Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.5 seed; he accounted for Korea’s Lee Sangsu, the no.9 seed (11-5, 12-11, 8-11, 2-11, 11-6, 11-9).
“Everything is very fine in this competition, I have trained hard; this first match was a very good start for me and now I must remain focused for other matches. The first match, it was a bit tough, I had to overcome several difficulties. Today was a good start; that is important. I look forward to playing even better. My next match against Koki Niwa promises to be tough because he is a very good player. I am going to approach the match seriously. Yesterday was my 29th birthday, the Chinese and Belgian fans wished me well.” Ma Long
Success for Ma Long and there was success for his colleague, Lin Gaoyuan, as play in the top half of the draw progressed, the no.6 seed, he accounted for Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.10 seed (11-3, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5).
“I am in good shape for the tournament and everything seems normal. The World Cup is a special event; being my first match, I was a bit nervous because I did not play in the group. I was a bit tense but I have prepared very well for this tournament.” Lin Gaoyuan
Awaiting Lin Gaoyuan in the quarter-finals, is Germany’s Timo Boll; the no.3 seed, he ended the hopes of Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.18 seed (12-10, 11-8, 11-5, 13-11).
Notably in the top half of the draw, five left handers were on duty; three are now in the quarter-finals; Ma Long stands alone but everything seems to be going right for the reigning Olympic Games and World champion.
Liebherr 2017 ITTF Men’s World Cup: Latest Results