by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It was a contest where once again Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri belied the ages of 14 years and 18 years old respectively; a full distance duel was the outcome with the senior pair eventually emerging successful (8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8).
Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri secured the opening game, made positive start in the second but at 6-5 their advantage was down to one point; they called “Time Out” and duly moved ahead 8-6. Alas from their point of view they lost the next four points. They saved one game point but could save a second.
Perhaps an opportunity had been missed by the younger pairing; undoubtedly that was the situation in the third game when the led 10-8 only to lose the next four points. Undaunted, they recovered to win the fourth game and force a decider. Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima made a flying start in the fifth game by winning the first four points; they led 5-1 at the change of ends but at 9-8 the advantage was down to just one point. Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima called “Time Out”; it proved a wise move, they won the next two points and thus secured a semi-final place for the third consecutive year.
“It’s a very tough match mentally, they are the new generation and have been playing unbelievably this year on the World Tour. We really wanted to win, so there was a lot of pressure on us… Today I think they also had some pressure because it was Japan against Japan, so they weren’t able to perform as well as usual. ” Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima.
Success as seeding advised but there was a quarterfinal Men’s Doubles upset; Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh, the no.6 seeds, accounted for the combination of Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth, the no.4 seeds (11-7, 11-7, 3-11, 11-9.
One surprise but there were no unexpected outcomes in the two remaining quarter-final Men’s Doubles duels.
Also from Japan, Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura, the top seeds, beat Belgium’s Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck, the no.7 seeds (11-9, 11-6, 11-7), Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, the no.3 seeds, overcame Singapore’s Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie, the no.8 seeds (11-4, 11-2, 13-11).
“We played good today, we were well prepared for the match, and were able to implement our strategies well. We have lost against them in the past, so last night we review some past footage to study some tactics based on their strengths and weaknesses.” Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh,
At the semi-final stage Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura meet Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting; in the opposite half of the draw Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh confront Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima.
The matches are scheduled for 10.50am (local time) on Friday 15th December.