by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Dimitrij Ovtcharov beat Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.6 seed, in a full distance seven games quarter-final duel (11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7), prior to recovering from a two games to nil deficit to overcome China’s Lin Gaoyuan, the no.4 seed (7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 12-10).
Earlier in the day Lin Gaoyuan had beaten compatriot, Fang Bo, the no.10 seed (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6).
Rather more comfortably, Chen Meng, who the previous day had reserved her semi-final place by overcoming Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.8 seed, in four straight games (11-4, 11-8, 11-6, 11-3) ended the hopes of colleague, Gu Yuting, the no.5 seed (12-10, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9).
Success for Chen Meng and there was an added edge to the win; just as when the previous day Dimitrij Ovtcharov had secured top spot on the Men’s World Rankings by beating Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.11 seed (10-12, 11-6, 12-14, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5); so the win recorded by Chen Meng in opposition to Gu Yuting secured her place at the head of the Women’s World Rankings, when the lists are announced officially on Wednesday 3rd January.
Wins for the players who will head the first rankings of 2018, there were also wins for the players who will occupy the no.2 positions.
In the Men’s Singles event Fan Zhendong, the no.3 seed, beat Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.2 seed (11-6, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7), in the counterpart Women’s Singles competition, Zhu Yuling, the no.7 seed, after accounting for colleague Wang Manyu, the no.2 seed, earlier in the day (11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-2), reserved her place in the title deciding contest by overcoming Chen Xingtong, the no.6 seed and also from China (9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 16-14, 11-7).
Play in Asatana concludes on Sunday 17th December.