by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Against Wong Chun Ting, Ma Long was quickly into a rhythm, once that situation occurs and the forehand is in motion, it is like trying to stop an express train; the first three games captured, Wong Chun Ting fought bravely to capture the next two but Ma Long, not used to being seeded in such a comparatively lowly position, is man with a mission in Bremen.
The forehand repetitive, the backhand safe, the sixth game was secured and another step was taken towards his quest for an unprecedented fifth ITTF World Tour German Open Men’s Singles title.
“It’s only now I realised I haven’t attended any World Tour events for nine months. I was leading in the first few games but Wong tried many different ways to come back in the fourth and fifth games. He is very capable and competitive. I haven’t thought about the final too much. Germany is my lucky place. I have won many titles here. I am looking forward to the final.” Ma Long
Success for Ma Long, soon after it was success for Xu Xin; a player with a reputation for being a somewhat of a slow starter and then recovering, it was the scenario against Patrick Franziska.
He lost the opening game but then found a rhythm to his play, as with Ma Long, the forehand devastating. Patrick Franziska was forced into the answering role time and again; trying to gain the initiative proved a major problem for the spirited German.
“Franziska played very well today. I think reaching the semi-finals is a success for both of us today. Last year, our team didn’t manage to reach the final at the German Open; Ovtcharov took the title; this time Ma Long and I fought hand in hand to finally secure places in the final. I hope I can play at a very high level against him to produce a spectacular match in the final; of course I hope that I could be the one standing on the top spot on the podium.” Xu Xin
The final is scheduled for later in the afternoon.