by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The record of Vladimir Samsonov on the ITTF World Tour, with 26 Men’s Singles titles to his credit, speaks for itself but in partnership with Pavel Platonov there is no such pedigree of success.
Conversely for their quarter-final adversaries in Budapest that was not the situation; in 2015 in the Philippines, Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck had emerged the champions beating Japan’s Hokuto Koriyama and Kenta Tazoe in the final. However, when facing Pavel Platonov and Vladimir Samsonov it was a very different scenario. The no.3 seeds, they experienced defeat in a contest where the outcome was arguably a little harsh on the Belgian duo; straight games but every game determined by the minimal two point margin (12-10, 11-9, 12-10).
“It was a very good tactical battle by us; we kept it short and tight and kept in the rallies; this made them make easy mistakes. Sometimes probably they felt the constant pressure of the ball is coming back time and again.” Pavel Platonov
“We lost to them at last year’s World Championships, so we knew it will be a hard match for us today. Maybe we took too many risks today. I feel a bit disappointed because I think we had a really good chance to win.” Robin Devos
Somewhat differently, although a title still awaits, Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson have enjoyed ITTF World Tour success; in 2012 they were the runners up in the Czech Republic, last year in Qatar. In Budapest, like Pavel Platonov and Vladimir Samsonov, they upset the order of merit; they accounted for Singapore’s Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie (11-9, 13-11, 7-11, 11-6).
Taking into account past results, although Gao Ning enjoyed considerable Men’s Doubles success when partnering Yang Zi, he has no such record in harness with Pang Xue Jie. The outcome was no great surprise; arguably neither was the win recorded by China’s Fan Zhendong and Yu Ziyang. The no.6 seeds, they beat the German pairing of Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther (9-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9).
“We had to take our time and play more patiently to settle in the match, once we had feeling for their combination we were fine.” Yu Ziyang
“We surprised them a little bit but unfortunately they started to read our game better and better; thereafter it was just too difficult. We were under huge pressure all the way through.” Ricardo Walther
Three defeats for higher rated pairings, in the one further Men’s Doubles quarter-final contest it was the reverse scenario for the duo that now awaits Fan Zhendong and Yu Ziyang. Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the top seeds, ended host nation hopes; the top seeds, they beat Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, the no.7 seeds, in four games (8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7).
“They started surprisingly aggressively; we could not make the adjustments quick enough to respond in time. We stole the second game; that was the turning point of the match. After that we settled into our tempo and kept things a bit tighter; glad to be in the semi-final.” Patrick Franziska
Play in the semi-finals is due to start later in the day at 8.00pm (local time).