by Simon Daish
Injury Woes For Title Hopeful
Heading into the German Open with an opportunity to return to the top of the Men’s World Rankings list but Dimitrij Ovtcharov’s campaign was cut short in Bremen, withdrawing from the competition three games into his opening match against Patrick Franziska with injury problems.
“It’s the same injury that forced me to withdraw from the World Team Cup during the tournament when I had tried at the beginning but I realised later on it was too painful. Afterwards I withdrew from the German National Championships and Qatar Open which were all in my plans. I came here to try to play in a competition without big pain but as the match progressed the pain got worse, especially the irregular movement. I will go to the doctor on Monday, I will see what they say, how long it will take before I’m fully recovered we will know at the beginning of next week.” Dimitrj Ovtcharov
Disappointing for Dimitrij Ovtcharov but on the whole it was a good day for the host nation with Timo Boll and Ruwen Filus coming through their opening contests: silver medallist from last year’s edition of the German Open, Timo Boll accounted for Korea Republic’s An Jaehyun at the foot of the draw (11-3, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9) while Ruwen Filus earned a superb six games upset victory over Tomokazu Harimoto (11-5, 7-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5).
Ma Long experienced little trouble on his return to ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles action, claiming a clean sweep win in his opening round encounter against Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura (11-6, 11-7, 11-5, 14-12). Portugal’s Marcos Freitas required a big comeback effort to see off Masaki Yoshida (9-11, 11-4, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9), setting up a Round of 16 tie with Patrick Franziska in the process.
Promising Start For Korean Players
Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun impressed at the recent 2018 ITTF Challenge Polish Open with a gold medal win in the Women’s Singles tournament. In Bremen Yang Haeun opened her account with a seven games victory over eighth seed Chen Szu-Yu (16-14, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6) before achieving a straight games success against Germany’s Han Ying (11-3, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12).
Two further Korean representatives advancing to the last eight are Jeon Jihee and Suh Hyowon with the latter player ousting No.4 seed Miu Hirano from the competition (11-8, 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 4-11, 11-7) to book a meeting with Yang Haeun. Jeon Jihee faces top seed Feng Tianwei on day two for a place in the penultimate round.
Success against Lee Ho Ching in the Round of 32 (11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7), Sun Yingsha endured a much tougher outing in her second fixture of the day but ultimately proved victorious again with third seed Mima Ito falling to the Chinese star in a seven-game thriller (7-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-6, 6-11, 10-12, 11-6).
Top Seeds Experience Differing Fortunes
The Japanese pairing of Hina Hayata and Mima Ito enjoyed a perfect day in the Women’s Doubles draw with the No.1 seeds prevailing against Thailand’s Orawan Paranang and Suthasini Sawettabut (11-7, 11-8, 11-9) to confirm their place in the semi-finals.
However, the top seeded partnership in the Men’s Doubles event will take no further part in Bremen after Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting lost out to Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu across four games to exit the proceedings (11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8).