by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The no.8 seed, he beat very much the player in form; he accounted for India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.2 seed, the young man who had been a crucial member of the gold medal outfit in the Men’s Team event earlier in the week.
Furthermore, Sam Walker emerged successful in most commanding fashion, a straight games win was the order of the day (11-8, 11-8, 13-11, 17-15), the performance very different to that we had experienced in the semi-final of the Men’s Team event when, by his own admission, he had under performed.
“It’s really good to get through, I played well today. I like the big matches, the big stage, it suits me; I cannot explain, I don’t know why. The team event was very disappointing. Maybe the occasion got to me; that’s not normal for me. Today winning the first game was really important, it put him under pressure. Today I was much more positive than in the team competition.” Sam Walker
A dramatic end to the Men’s Singles quarter-final contests, the start was one of efficiency as Quadri Aruna, the top seed, beat Harmeet Desai, like Sathiyan Gnanasekaran from India and the no.7 seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8)
“It was a 50:50 match, it was difficult. Harmeet is a good player, we’ve often practised against each other. Today my forehand was good, especially when I stepped around to play from the backhand side of the table. I could not be passive; I had to be positive otherwise he would have been too fast for me. For sure the win is a big confidence booster.” Quadri Aruna
Success for Quadri Aruna was followed with success for Sharath Kamal Achanta, the no.4 seed, in a hard fought duel. Guilded by Massimilano Costantini, he overcame England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.6 seed (9-11, 13-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9)
“We have a lot of history, we’ve played against each other in the German Bundesliga, the Commonwealth Games; it was a battle of history. I was thinking I knew what he would do and he was thinking he knew what I would do. In the end we did neither. I thought my best tactic was to use my power and win the points quickly but that is what he was doing; Max told me to play two or three balls on the table, be prepared to play rallies, Liam made mistakes trying to finish the point.” Sharath Kamal Achanta
A place in the semi-final as seeding advised, it was the same for Gao Ning; the no.3 seed, he accounted for Canada’s Eugene Wang, the no.14 seed (10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9).
“In the first game I went ahead 6-1, he started to come back and I became anxious and lost several points in a row. I tried to stay calm and maintain my concentration. He plays very soft, no great power; his control is good, he is good in the passive game.” Gao Ning
At the semi-final stage Quadri Aruna meets Sharath Kamal Achanta, Sam Walker faces Gao Ning; the matches are scheduled for Saturday 14th April.