by Simon Daish
Spain and Portugal will be added to history books
Two new countries will be added to the list of World Championships medal winners with Spain and Portugal guaranteeing their places on the men’s doubles podium.
Spanish competitor Alvaro Robles and Romanian partner Ovidiu Ionescu ran out 4-0 winners in their encounter against Sweden’s Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson (11-5, 11-7, 13-11, 11-9) while the Portuguese pair of Tiago Apolonia and Joao Monteiro progressed following the withdrawal of Germany’s Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska.
Further history will be made as Robles and Ionescu take on Apolonia and Monteiro in the semi-finals meaning that one of Spain or Portugal will reach a final for the first time!
Sometimes fate isn’t on your side
Life can prove unpredictable even at the best of times and unfortunately Timo Boll experienced the cruel side of life.
Set to compete in the last 16 of the men’s singles category and quarter-finals of the men’s doubles tournament but on Day Five the German legend was forced to withdraw from both events due to illness. Everyone at the ITTF wishes Timo a speedy recovery.
China still on top
For a few years now there has been great optimism surrounding the Japanese camp with the prospect that the country’s young female stars could potentially knock China’s finest off the top but on Day Five we learnt that Japan still has a little way to go in that quest.
First up we saw Miu Hirano’s departure from the women’s singles draw as she lost out to defending champion Ding Ning across five games (11-8, 4-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-9) and not long after Miyu Kato was shown the door by Liu Shiwen (11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5). With Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem also exiting, China will lockout the podium for an incredible ninth occasion!
Shock departures aren’t going anywhere
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt so far it’s that the men’s singles event never ceases to amaze and on Day Five the story was no different with big names continuing to fall in the Round of 16.
Starting the day off in thrilling fashion we were hit with an almighty upset as top seed Fan Zhendong suffered elimination at the hands of no.9 seed Liang Jingkun (5-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7). Following on from that we lost Tomokazu Harimoto and Lee Sangsu, seeded fourth and sixth respectively, with qualifier An Jaehyun and no.16 seed Mattias Falck progressing in their stead.
Hong Kong’s impressive run will end
Picking up medals at each edition of the World Championships since 2003 but in Budapest that impressive record will come to an end for Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s last hopes faded at the quarter-finals stage of both doubles competitions: Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting never really got going in their meeting with China’s Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan (11-9, 14-12, 11-7, 11-3) and the news wasn’t any better for Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, who also exited to Chinese opposition in the form of Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling (11-4, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6).