by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Lim Jonghoon, upset the seeding by beating colleague Lee Sangsu, the no.7 seed; contests between team mates in the latter stages of major international tournaments can always be regarded as very evenly balanced affairs irrespective of world ranking.
However, the margin of victory could most certainly be considered a surprise: Lim Jonghoon prevailed in four straight games (11-9, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6).
Similarly, the unpredictable nature of contests when compatriots meet was illustrated in the match between Ma Long and Liang Jingkun; the former the winner of every major title the sport has to offer, the latter the winner of nothing and in Shenzhen like Lim Jonghoon required to qualify. Ma Long, the no.5 seed, won but he needed the full seven games (11-13, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6).
A hard fought full seven games success for Ma Long, it was the same for Lin Gaoyuan, the no.4 seed, in opposition to Japan’s Jun Mizutani; he recovered from a three games to two deficit to emerge successful (9-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 11-8).
“I was fully prepared but Jun Mizutani was very competitive. He is a complete player, who quickly takes advantage of any mistakes his opponent may make. Overall, the situation was quite difficult; I did my best to get every point and finally beat him. I played more firmly in the final stage. Though he isn’t an aggressive player, he hardly makes any mistakes Furthermore, it was a match in my hometown and the fans cheered me enthusiastically; that helped me a lot, especially mentally.” Lin Gaoyuan
Success for Lin Gaoyuan against Jun Mizutani, a player against whom he had experienced defeat at the 2017 Asian Cup in Ahmedabad before progressing to secure the title; for Fan Zhendong, the top seed, against Jun Mizutani’s colleague, Koki Niwa, the no.8 seed, it was continued success.
Fan Zhendong emerged the winner in five games (11-9, 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-3) and thus maintained his perfect record against Koki Niwa; overall in world ranking evets it was their eighth meeting, Fan Zhendong has now won all eight
At the semi-final stage Fan Zhendong meets Lin Gaoyuan, Lim Jonghoon confronts Ma Long.
The matches will be played later in the evening.