by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
It was a win that needs putting into perspective; in Doha, Sharath Kamal Achanta has been in fine form, outstanding form; one day earlier he had beaten Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.6 seed, to cause one of the biggest upsets of the opening round.
“We know each other well, we are friends. We practise together. I’ve lost against him twice. He is powerful, if you don’t receive serve well then you have no chance, he showed yesterday against Koki Niwa that if he gets a chance after the service then he is unstoppable. You cannot return service a centimetre too high. Today that was the key, he has good services, a lot of spin but I returned service well; that was the key.” Jonathan Groth
Impressive from Jonathan Groth, as play started in the top half of the draw in the second round of the Men’s Singles event, the Chinese trio of Fan Zhendong, Zhou Yu and Xu Xin were equally imposing.
Fan Zhendong set the standard; the top seed, he beat Japan’s Jun Mizutani, the no.12 seed, in five games (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6).
“It was different today, he played differently to the last time I played him; he played faster. Always he is good in the rallies when away from the table. It was not easy to keep up with his speed.” Fan Zhendong
Clinical from Fan Zhendong; it was the same from Xu Xin, the no.5 seed and three times champion as it was from Zhou Yu still seeking his first ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title.
Xu Xin beat Korea’s Lee Sangsu, the no.13 seed (11-8, 11-5, 11-5, 11-3); Zhou Yu accounted for Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson (7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-3, 11-8).
All quarter-final matches will be played on Saturday 10th March.