by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Victory by the very narrowest of margins but the result does not relate the drama.
Ziad Elshawa performed what must be the greatest recovery of his young career; losing three games to one, he trailed 4-9 in the fourth before mounting his fightback. He levelled matters at three games apiece before establishing an 8-6 lead in the seventh and then saved one match point at 10-11 prior to winning three points in a row to seal victory.
“I was so tired, I’ve played so many matches today; in the first four games I found it very difficult to focus; from the fifth game onwards I tried to change the direction of the play more, create angles. I must admit when leading 8-6 in the seventh game I became tense and nervous.” Ziad Elshawa
Success in a full distance duel, he was not the only Egyptian to emerge victorious after a severe examination. Colleague Ammar Attia needed the full seven games to end the hopes of Iran’s Mohammad Amin Samadi (11-9, 4-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5, 3-11, 11-7).
At the quarter-final stage Ziad Elshawa meets China’s Yuan Licen, Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun opposes Quan Kaiyuan, also from China. Similarly in the lower half of the draw, China is strongly represented. Liang Yanning meets Iran’s Amin Ahmadian; Xu Haidong confronts Ammar Attia.
Likewise in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event, play has advanced to the round of the last eight with China involved in every quarter-final duel and Ziad Elshawa again on duty.
He meets Xiang Peng, whilst also in the top half of the draw Li Haoteng oppose Iran’s Radin Khayyam; in the lower half it is Xiong Mengyang versus Sweden’s Linus Keraenen; Tao Yuchang in opposition to India’s Hrishikesh Malhotra.
Play concludes in Muscat on Sunday 11th February.