by Ian Marshall, Editor
In the round of the last eight he faces Germany’s Bastian Steger, the no.13 seed, a fine player but one who has experienced problems when facing adversaries from China; especially when confronting the pen-hold style of Xu Xin. Different in style but likewise, Zheng Peifeng is also a pen-holder.
Awaiting the winner is either Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed or England’s Liam Pitchford, like Zheng Peifeng required to compete in the two day qualification tournament. Dimitrij Ovtcharov is returning to form after a bleak spell; Liam Pitchford is in a rich vein of form. Furthermore, Dimitrij Ovtcharov has a debt to settle, last week in Bulgaria, in the second round he was beaten by Zheng Peifeng.
Strong German representation, it is the same in the lower half of the draw; Patrick Franziska, the no.9 seed, opposes Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.2 seed and defending champion. Meanwhile, Marcos Freitas, the no.4 seed and winner in 2014, confronts qualifier Daniel Habesohn, like Liam Pitchford, he is in fine form.
A place in the final for the top two seeds; the same question is posed in the Women’s Singles event, Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the top seed and colleague Mima Ito, the defending champion are both aiming for a title deciding showdown.
In the round of the last eight, Kasumi Ishikawa faces Puerto Rico’s 17 year old Adriana Diaz, required to qualify, she has excelled all expectations. She has nothing to lose. Awaiting the winner is a colleague of Kasumi Ishikawa, either Miu Hirano the no.3 seed or the Saki Shibata, the no.7 seed. Saki Shibata might just cause an upset, she has enjoyed a quite remarkable year of success having won Women’s Singles events at ITTF Challenge Series tournament in Croatia and Spain.
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, Mima Ito, the no.2 seed, is the only seeded player remaining, a half where there is a strong Chinese presence in the guise of Wen Jia and Wu Yang. Mima Ito is the quarter-final opponent for Wen Jia, for Wu Yang it is Germany’s Sabine Winter.
An intriguing day awaits in Olomouc.