20 Oct 2018

Winner one year ago in Liège, Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov kept his hopes alive of retaining the title, on the evening of Saturday 20th October,

At the quarter-final stage of the Liebherr 2018 ITTF Men’s World Cup, the no.3 seed, in the French capital city of Paris, he beat Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu, the no.5 seed in a full distance seven games encounter that ebbed one way and then flowed the other (11-7, 11-6, 11-13, 9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A good start, Dimitrij Ovtcharov could not have made a better start, he went ahead 9-2, Lee Sangsu never at the races in the early part of the contest, adapted; he reduced the deficit to three points at 9-6. Jörg Rosskopf, German national team coach sitting courtside, somewhat surprisingly, called “Time Out”. It proved a wise move.

Impressive in the opening game, Dimitrij Ovtcharov was equally impressive in the second; true to the best Korean style Lee Sangsu is athletic, favours the forehand especially moving around his backhand to execute his ace card. Against Dimitrij Ovtcharov, notably strong from the backhand, it is a difficult skill to employ.

Trailing by two games to nil, Lee Sangsu adapted, prepared to use the backhand attacking option, he found rhythm to his play; he secured the third game after leading 9-7, holding one game point at 10-9 and saving one at 10-11, before winning a close fourth and then more comfortably the fifth.

The momentum in favour of Lee Sangsu, immediately Dimitrij Ovtcharov responded; for the second time in the day, for both players a deciding seventh game beckoned. Earlier Lee Sangsu had beaten Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, Dimitrij Ovtcharov had overcome Sweden’s Mattias Falck.

At the change of ends in the seventh game, Dimitrij Ovtcharov led 5-2, he moved ahead 6-3, Lee Sangsu elected for “Time Out”. It was to prove to no avail, Dimitrij Ovtcharov remained firm, a place in the penultimate round was reserved.

“It was very tough. I think I had a lot of chances, then he got too strong in the middle of the match. It was very hard to play a second match finishing four-three in the same day. There were many good points and Lee played very well. When I was down two-three, I actually didn’t change any tactics but just tried to keep pushing. It’s a pleasure to play in front of a full crowd, especially in France where there are many table tennis fans. I hope that in future we will have more events with the same atmosphere.” Dimitrij Otvcharov

Notably, it was the sixth meeting between Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Lee Sangsu in world ranking events, it was the fifth success for the German; the only success for the young man from the Korea Republic was in Suzhou at the 2015 World Championships.

Otherwise, it has always been victory for Dimitrij Ovtcharov; earlier on the ITTF World Tour he had won in 2008 in Singapore, in 2011 in the Korea Republic and in 2014 in Qatar. More recently earlier this year Dimitrij Ovtcharov had prevailed when they confronted each other at the ITTF Team World Cup in London; in Paris he won again

World Cup 2018 Liebherr Men's World Cup Dimitrij Ovtcharov Lee Sangsu

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