by Simon Daish
Feng Tianwei survived a major scare on the opening day of the Women’s Singles draw but will be feeling optimistic about her chances of progressing from the quarter-finals; the Singapore competitor takes on Jeon Jihee, a player she has never lost to on seven previous occasions at international ranking events but the contestant from Korea Republic has been in promising form in Bremen and heads into the match against the top seed with plenty of confidence.
The other quarter-finals tie in the upper half of the draw is guaranteed to produce a Korean winner as Suh Hyowon and Yang Haeun battle it out for a spot in the last four; Suh Hyowon enters the match off the back of a marvellous result against Miu Hirano while qualifier Yang Haeun looks to eliminate a seeded player for the third consecutive round. Both seasoned regulars on the international scene but this will be their first head-to-head encounter on the ITTF World Tour.
Two unseeded Chinese representatives will also feature in the last eight as Wu Yang and Sun Yingsha meet opposition from Japan and Chinese Taipei: seeded second and fifth respectively Kasumi Ishikawa and Cheng I-Ching are on paper the favourites to progress from the lower half of the draw but we all know the quality of Wu Yang and Sun Yingsha. Could an all-China semi-final encounter could be on the cards?
Ma Long faces a familiar foe in his second round tie as the Chinese star meets Jun Mizutani for a place in the last eight of the Men’s Singles tournament. Two players who have enjoyed their fair share of success over the years, but the head-to-head ITTF World Tour record sits firmly in Ma Long’s favour with the World and Olympic champion having never lost to his Japanese opponent.
Awaiting the winner of that match in the quarter-finals will be either Timo Boll or Chuang Chih-Yuan; the German and Chinese Taipei competitors have previously met on the German Open stage twice back in 2008 and 2011 with Timo Boll emerging victorious on both occasions – can Chuang Chih-Yuan reverse his fortunes and defeat the highest ranked host nation player left in the draw?
Swedish table tennis fans have two contestants to root for on the penultimate day of play in Bremen with Mattias Karlsson and Kristian Karlsson both set to appear in last 16 action: qualifier Mattias Karlsson earned a major win over Brazil’s Hugo Calderano on the evening of day one to book a meeting with No.4 seed Koki Niwa while Kristian Karlsson goes face-to-face with Germany’s Ruwen Filus, who knocked out Tomokazu Harimoto in the previous round.
Catch day two of the Seamaster 2018 Platinum German Open from 10.00am (local time) on Saturday 24th March with semi-finals fixtures in the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles events getting the proceedings underway.