by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The no.13 seed, he beat China’s Lin Gaoyuan in four straight games (11-9, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6).
Fan Zhendong made the best start possible, he won the first seven points of the opening game before Xu Xin responded; furthermore, Xu Xin responded in style, he secured the second game but was not able to capitalise.
In typical style consistent top spin play, efforts early in the rally directed towards the backhand of Xu Xin reaped dividends; three close games followed all ending in favour of Fan Zhendong by narrow margins.
Similarly Hugo Calderano made the better start in the contest against Lin Gaoyuan; he secured a close first game after having held an 8-4 lead. In the second game there was little to choose; at 8-all it was parity; the next three points went to Brazil. Hugo Calderano held a two games to nil advantage.
Now confident following the close success, with Lin Gaoyuan experiencing problems returning service, Hugo Calderano dominated the third game; in the fourth he raced into a 4-1 lead, Lin Gaoyuan called “Time Out”.
He was searching for answers against a player who had moved to a new level; the lead was never relinquished, at 10-6, Hugo Calderano held four match points, he needed just one, a backhand top spin across the diagonal left Lin Gaoyuan dumbstruck. A place in the final was reserved
“I’m so happy to reach the final, I feel that all the hours of training are now bringing results, it’s never easy to beat a Chinese player and not four-nil.” Hugo Calderano
The final will be played on the afternoon of Sunday 11th March.