24 Mar 2018

Blighted by injury earlier in the year and forced the cancel entries to major events, once again the gremlins bit the host nation’s Dimitrij Ovtharov on the first day of play, Friday 23rd March, at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open in Bremen.

However, for Frenchman Simon Gauzy and Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, who have also endured injury problems in the early months of the year, there was better news; both recorded opening round wins.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Marcos Freitas, the no.9 seed, accounted for Japan’s Masaki Yoshida (9-11, 11-4, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9); the success being gained prior to Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed, being forced to withdraw from his encounter against compatriot, Patrick Franziska at the start of the fourth game (11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 11-1, 11-0).

“It was a very good match; he is a very good player. Three years ago in Suzhou I played against him, very close too. I’m not in my best shape because I was two months injured. To come back like this and win my first match at the German Open, a strong tournament, I’m very happy.” Marcos Freitas

A difficult hurdle overcome, it was the same for Simon Gauzy, the no.7 seed; he accounted for Croatia’s Andrej Gacina in a full distance seven games duel (11-3, 4-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5)

“Our level today was really close. The key point was the beginning of the seventh game. He made some mistakes and I played a few good shots and rallies to give me the lead.” Simon Gauzy

“I am a bit tired after playing in the qualification. I was not feeling one hundred per cent fresh; qualification was tough. Also in last game I made some easy mistakes.” Andrej Gacina

Success for Marcos Freitas and Simon Gauzy as seeding predicted, it was the same for one further notable European name. Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.2 seed, beat Korea’s An Jaehyun (11-3, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9)

A comprehensive win for Timo Boll, it was the same for the Chinese duo of Ma Long and Xu Xin enjoyed success.

Ma Long, the no.5 seed, overcame Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura (11-3, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7) in a venue that had a special meaning for the reigning Olympic and World champion; he made his World Championships debut in 2006 when Bremen hosted the team event. China beat Korea in the Men’s Team final.

“It’s my first match for the Men’s Single event here, so it’s still bit tough to adapt to a good rhythm; especially now having so many balls and volunteers picking up the balls at world events. As such I have to try my best to focus myself fully into the game. Bremen is the place where I first took part in the World Championships and became World Champion, so it’s an important place for me. I’ll still have to play my game one point at a time and fight match by match as the tournament progresses.” Ma Long

Meanwhile, for Xu Xin it was success in opposition to Jakub Dyjas, a contest in which the Polish player more than did himself justice. He extended Xu Xin to six games (11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5)

“Xu Xin is a great player, for sure stronger than me. The key of the match was his very good service. I couldn’t receive it well. In the rallies I felt a little bit uncomfortable because of the Chinese rubber, the ball is jumping much higher. I think I played very well here in Germany; I still need to keep training and practising.” Jakub Dyjas

Wins for Timo Boll, Ma Long and Xu Xin as status anticipated, it was the same for Japan’s Jun Mizutani, the no.11 seed, he beat Denmark’s Jonathan Groth (11-3, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7). However, as the first round of the Men’s Singles event advanced, in addition to Dimitrij Ovtcharov, one seed departed. Japan’s Yuya Oshima, the no.15 seed, was beaten by Korean qualifier Jeoung Youngsik (12-10, 4-11, 11-6, 1-11, 11-8, 11-8)

The remaining opening round matches will be played later in the evening.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster German Open Dimitrij Ovtcharov Simon Gauzy Marcos Freitas

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Day 3 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF German Open

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