10 Nov 2018

Four times a finalist, three times a winner; for Germany’s Timo Boll, there will be no place on the podium at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Liebherr Austrian Open in Linz.

On the evening of Friday 9th November, the no.3 seed, he was beaten by England’s Liam Pitchford; a player whose journey had commenced three days earlier in the qualification tournament, a six games result was the outcome (11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 8-11, 13-11, 12-10).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Notably Timo Boll won in 2002 and 2004 when the tournament was staged in Wels, later in 2008 he succeeded in Salzburg, before in 2010, again in Wels he was beaten in the final by Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia. On the now five occasions when the tournament has been staged in Linz, he has never reached the final!

More significantly, the result means that Timo Boll now needs a favour from either Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto or China’s Xu Xin; one of those two names will meet Liam Pitchford at the semi-final stage.

Currently Timo Boll occupies the no.16 spot (363 points) on the Men’s Singles Standings; the only player who now can prevent the German gaining a place in the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, which commence in Incheon on Thursday 13th November, is Liam Pitchford.

Following the quarter-final contests, of players having met the five tournament appearance criteria Liam Pitchford appears in 18th place (337 points); a semi-final win and the Englishman crosses the line, Timo Boll will just miss out.

Moreover, it is not out of the question, Liam Pitchford has met Xu Xin just once on the international scene, the Liebherr 2012 Men’s World Cup in Liverpool, he was soundly beaten but that is over six years ago; much water has passed under the bridge since those times. Conversely, Tomokazu Harimoto has never beaten Liam Pitchford; they have met twice this year, at the Team World Cup in London and at the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships in Halmstad. On both occasions, Liam Pitchford prevailed.

Success for Liam Pitchford and in the corresponding quarter-final staged on the evening of the second day of play, it was also success for the qualifier against the seed. China’s Liang Jingkun beat Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.11 seed (11-5, 15-13, 11-4, 11-9).

Liang Jingkun now faces the winner of the contest between colleague Fan Zhendong and Japan’s Koki Niwa; all are assured of places in the Grand Finals.

Sunday 4th November: Standings following the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Austria Open Timo Boll Liam Pitchford

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Qualification Day 1 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Liebherr Austrian Open