25 Aug 2018

The winner four years ago when at the final hurdle, he beat Germany’s Patrick Baum, as play came to a close on the evening of the penultimate day of action, Saturday 25th August, at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc; Portugal’s Marcos Freitas underlined the fact indelibly that he has every intention of regaining the coveted title.

In a contest that ebbed and flowed, he ended the reign of the defending champion; the no.4 seed, he beat Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.2 seed, in seven games (11-5, 1-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6) to secure his place in the final.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A splendid performance by Marcos Freitas, one in which mentally he proved sound from start to finish, against an adversary from whom we have now come to expect incredible results.

Treat every opponent as a player whatever the age, whatever the pedigree but when the opponents is a 15 year old teenager who has caused sensation after sensation; considering the young man as just another adversary against whom there is a job to be done, is not an easy task. Great credit must go to Marcos Freitas.

“The key point was to fight because he is an amazing player; number six in the world and second seed in this tournament. I beat him at the German Open last time but he has been playing very well and improved during the last months. I just wanted to play my best game to put as many balls on the table as I could. Also with the service and receive I was quite strong today and this is why I managed to win. I gained a good lead in the beginning of the deciding game, something that I was not expecting. In the beginning I won many easy points; when it was 10-2 I think that he didn’t believe anymore and he was just risking a bit more and got a bit lucky. It was difficult to finish. He is a top player and every point is hard even if you are leading by six or seven points. I just tried to play every point like the score would be 9-all.” Marcos Freitas

Awaiting in the final is China’s Zheng Peifeng, the player who last week in Bulgaria had reached the quarter-final stage; his right handed pen-hold grip style of play, somewhat in the mode of the now retired Wang Hao, caused the downfall of England’s Liam Pitchford, likewise a player who had been required to compete in the two day qualification tournament. A four games to one outcome was the verdict (11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 11-5, 11-9).

“I concentrated 100 per cent on the game and just did my best. There will be some pressure on me tomorrow in the final since it’s my first World Tour final but I will prepare for whatever comes.” Zheng Peifeng

No doubt after beating Ma Long last week in Bulgaria and overcoming Zhang Yudong this week in the Czech Republic, the Chinese dossier on style extolled by Liam Pitchford is increasing. They are no doubt well aware of the Englishman’s potent backhand.

The final will be played on the afternoon of Sunday 26th August.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Czech Open Tomokazu Harimoto Liam Pitchford Marcos Freitas Zheng Peifeng

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Czech Open

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