by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Defeat for Zhang Jike but as play continued in the top half of the draw in the opening round of the Men’s Singles event, there was success for China and there was notable success.
The player to catch the eye was Zhou Yu; like Tiago Apolonia required to compete in the qualification tournament, he beat Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.12 seed and former winner of the event; Vladimir Samsonov succeeded in 2001 in Bayreuth and four years later in the current city, Magdeburg. Zhou Yu won in five games (11-6, 8-11, 11-2, 12-10, 11-5).
“I grew up watching Samsonov’s matches and he’s like a role model to me. Today I played with the right mentality; today I came to challenge him, I stayed calm and played game by game. Winning the fourth game was crucial, as I was trailing. I stayed calm and thought of my strategies to take the next few points. After taking the fourth game, I was more confident. I think he’s also not in good form today, I’m younger and furthermore it’s his first match of the tournament, so he’s probably not fully adapted yet.” Zhou Yu
Success for Zhou Yu, there was also success for colleagues Yan An and Fan Zhendong. Yan An, the no.15 seed, beat Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri (14-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7); Fan Zhendong, the top seed, accounted for the host nation’s Patrick Franziska (11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-3).
“It’s the first singles match, I still feel I’m not adapted yet. I had a good start to the match, taking the lead but he played better afterwards and I had to fight by game by game. The atmosphere at events in Germany and Europe is always good, including the World Championships earlier this year, I enjoy it. Of course my goal is to win here at the German Open, I haven’t been playing much internationally lately so I want to find back the feeling of playing and winning. It is my second German Open, I won my second ITTF World Tour title here in 2013, so I hope to do well again this time round.” Fan Zhendong
Disappointment for China in the defeat experienced by Zhang Jike but compensated by Fan Zhendong, Yan and Zhou Yu; for Japan in the top half of the draw it was a similar scenario.
Kenta Matsudaira, the no.10 seed, beat England’s Paul Drinkhall (11-7, 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9) but there were defeats for Koki Niwa and Masataka Morizono. The no.7 seed, Koki Niwa was beaten by Korea’s Jeong Sangeun (5-11, 11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7); Masataka Morizono suffered at the hands of Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.9 seed (11-5, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8).
Impressive performances and there was one in particular from the host nation.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.3 seed, ended the adventures of Hungary’s Bence Majoros (11-7, 13-15, 11-5, 11-3, 12-10).
In the second round, in the top half of the draw, Fan Zhendong meets Zhou Yu, Kenta Matsudaira opposes Jeong Sangeun. Meanwhile, Tiago Apolonia faces Wong Chun Ting, Yan An confronts Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
The matches are scheduled for Saturday 11th November.
Tiago Apolonia and Zhang Jike reflect on their opening round contest