by Ian Marshall, Editor
Defeat for Tomokazu Harimoto and another defeat in recent times against a left hander.
At the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, in the Men’s Singles event, he was stretched to the limit at the semi-final stage by Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, in the final he lost to China’s Wang Chuqin, before at the Liebherr 2018 Men’s World Cup departing proceedings at the hands of Germany’s Timo Boll.
Accepted later he beat Wang Chuqin in the Mixed Team event in Buenos Aires and all are high quality opponents but the left hander servicing short and wide across the diagonal to the forehand of Tomokazu Harimoto would appear to be causing the Japanese prodigy problems. The angle gained makes it difficult for him to return the service with his favoured modern day backhand technique.
“My focus was good today and I was really well prepared; I’d watched the video of Timo beating him at the Men’s World Cup, so I was well aware of what I needed to do. Against Timo he had made mistakes with forehand, so focused on his forehand; today, he didn’t find a rhythm when he played forehands. I served long but after the third game I was down two-one, so I changed and played backhand to backhand; then when the chance arose, step around and play my forehand to his forehand. Also, serving short to the forehand, he was unsure returning, he made mistakes, it was difficult for him to return with his backhand.” Benedikt Duda
Success against the odds for Benedikt Duda, as the lower half of the Men’s Singles draw progressed Lin Yun-Ju alongside China’s Zhou Qihao both caused upsets. Lin Yun-Ju beat Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, the no.10 seed (5-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7, 12-10); Zhou Qihao ousted Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.11 seed and, like Lin Yun-Ju, from Chinese Taipei (5-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10).
Defeats for notable names but one in particular stood firm; Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.4 seed, ended English hopes, he beat Liam Pitchford (13-11, 11-7, 11-4, 13-11).
The second round of the Men’s Singles event will be played in entirety on Friday 2nd November.