by Ian Marshall, Editor
Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed, the young man who started the year at the head of the Men’s World Rankings but, prior to the gathering in Olomouc, had not advanced beyond the second round of an ITTF World Men’s Singles event this year in four attempts, came good.
He beat Korea Republic’s Park Ganghyeon in five games (11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).
Success for Dimitrij Ovtcharov without the need for a decider, in the duel involving his colleagues it was somewhat different; familiar to each other’s styles of play, Bastian Steger eventually succeeded in a contest that ebbed and flowed (5-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 11-6). Bastian Steger was the no.13 seed; like Park Ganghyeon, Ricardo Walther had been required to compete in the two day qualification tournament.
Progress for Germany, for China it was mixed fortunes.
In an engagement involving those who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament, Zheng Peifeng beat Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa (11-5, 11-3, 5-11, 11-3, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4); however, for Zhang Yudong it was the end of the road. He lost to a player who has an increasing penchant for Chinese adversaries. He experienced defeat when facing England’s Liam Pitchford, the young man who last week in Bulgaria had ousted the mighty Ma Long.
Liam Pitchford recovered from a three games to one deficit to emerge successful (11-7, 10-12, 12-14, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3).
At the quarter-final stage Liam Pitchford faces Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Zheng Peifeng confronts Bastian Steger.
The matches in the lower half of the draw will be played later in the evening session of play.