by Simon Daish
Earlier this year at the ITTF World Tour event in India, Dimitrij Ovtcharov pulled off a straight games victory over Tomokazu Harimoto to lift the title. In Astana the German player has once again got the better of the Japanese teenage star, but this time the contest proved to be much closer.
In an end-to-end match very little separated the two and by the conclusion of game six the scores were tied, forcing a deciding seventh game.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov made a fantastic start to the final end and despite a late comeback from his rival the incoming World no.1 came out on top to book his spot in the last four (11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7).
Next up for Dimitrij Ovtcharov is a semi-finals meeting with Lin Gaoyuan after the fourth seed saw off fellow countryman Fang Bo.
Rather interestingly it was the lower seeded player Fang Bo who made the brighter start to the match, winning the opening game by a three point margin to take the lead but Lin Gaoyuan fought back well and successfully managed to level the scores with a victory in game two.
Three successive game wins later and it was Lin Gaoyuan who secured his spot in the penultimate round at the expense of the 10th seed (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6).
“I prepared well for the match, and it was against a teammate so I was mentally prepared for any difficulties. Though I lost the first game, I was able to fight back into the match point by point and take the next four games so I think my performance was stable in the match.” Lin Gaoyuan.
The Men’s Singles draw resumes with semi-finals action from 18.50pm (local time).