Tournaments

28 Apr 2019

Catch up on all of the updates from Day Six at the Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.

Ovidiu Ionescu / Alvaro Robles respond

It was a dazed Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles

““They adjusted so quickly to our game. They forced us constantly to change and to risk. In addition, I felt really heavy on my legs. We had a very difficult match yesterday and it made a difference today in the seventh game,” said Alvaro.

“We already beat Ma Long and Xu Xin on the ITTF World Tour. It is good for our confidence but I am sure that Chinese team will have studied our game. They will be much better prepared now. However, we believe in our partnership and we have confidence in each other. I am looking forward tomorrow’s match.” Ovidiu Ionescu

Ovidiu Ionescu / Alvaro Robles beat Tiago Apolonia / João Monteiro 11-6, 3-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8

Men’s Doubles Semi-Final

Maintaining the form of the previous rounds, Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles secured the opening game; immediately Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro responded to win the second.

Parity, the third game ebbed and flowed, after saving one game point, the decision going to Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro; Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles responded to secure the fourth.

Just as the third game, the fifth ebbed and flowed until 7-all, the stage at which Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles played error free, four points in a row to secure the game.

Buoyant after winning the fifth, Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles win the first three points of the sixth game; Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro called “Time Out” and duly won the next four points eventually by the minimal two point margin enjoying success.

Very equal pairs, the need for a seventh game highlighted that fact. In the decider, Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro established a 4-2 lead; Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles called “Time Out”. However, at the change of ends the advantage was with Portugal, Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro led 5-3.

They extended the lead to 7-3, Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles recovered, levelled at 8-all, won the next two points; then arguably the point of the match, scintillating rally, the end result Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles celebrated. They had won eight of the last nine points.

Ma Long / Wang Chqin v Liang Jingkun / Lin Gaoyuan 12-10, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5

Men’s Doubles Semi-Final

Ma Long and Wang Chuqin captured the opening two games, both closely contested; Ma Long and Wang Chuqin winning the crucial points. In the third game it was little different, level at 7-all, the next four points went to Ma Long and Wang Chuqin, the held three games to nil lead.

In the fourth game, Ma Long and Wang Chuqin established a 4-1 lead; Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan called “Time Out”. The break worked but in favour of Ma Long and Wang Chuqin; at 10-5 they held five match points, They needed just one.

Success for Ma Long (foreground) and (rear) Wang Chuqin (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
An Jaehyun beat Jang Woojin 12-10, 10-12, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10

Men’s Singles Quarter-Final

Nothing to choose between the two players; the opening games shared, each having been won by the minimal two point margin. Familiarity was undoubtedly a factor, it was preventing exciting rallies.

The pattern continued, Jan Woojin won the third, An Jaehyun the next two before Jan Woojin secured the sixth to level matters. In the seventh, Jang Woojin made the better start, he established a 3-1 lead, An Jaehyun called “Time Out”. The break reaped immediate dividends, An Jaehyun won the next three points, Jan Woojin elected for “Time Out”.

Nothing to choose, at 9-all parity, as first one player gained a one point advantage and then the other;  the one of the best points of the match, won by Jang Woojin. Receiving service An Jaehyun level. Now the pendulum swayed in favour of An Jaehyun, who then secured the next point and leapt in in sheer joy.

Incredibly, An Jaehyun, playing in his first ever World Championships, required to compete in the group stage and then in the preliminary round, on his eighth match of the event, had booked a semi-final place.

An Jaehyun a revelation (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Mattias Falck and Simon Gauzy reflect

Men’s Singles Quarter-Final

It was a delighted Mattias Falck after the match

“I was nervous at the beginning. It was a very important match for both of us. Too much was in stake. However, after the second game I managed to control the match and to play more aggressively, playing with much more variation.” Mattias Falck

Understandably, Simon Gauzy was disappointed.

“It is hard not to be. I came this far; thee opening two game were close, but after that Mattias played much better. He took the control. He was much better. I could not repeat my good game from the match against Xu Xin.” Simon Gauzy

Mattias Falck beat Simon Gauzy 11-8, 11-13, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7

Men’s Singles Quarter-Final

Both have been runners up but neither a men’s singles winner on the ITTF World Tour, a somewhat unusual situation for such a prestigious contest.

The opening two games were shared, neither player able to impose their authority on proceedings; the third game was very different, Mattias Falck, seemingly reveling in the occasion, realizing this way a massive chance for a podium place, dominated from start to finish.

Now, leading 2-1, Mattias Falck was increasing in self-belief, Simon Gauzy was experiencing problems returning the Swede’s service and was time and again being forced away from the table. The fourth game was secured by Mattias Falck in an even more dominant manner than the immediate previous.

Alas for Simon Gauzy, the form shown two days earlier when beating Xu Xin, had completely deserted the Frenchman. In the fifth game Mattias Falck went ahead 4-1, Simon Gauzy called “Time Out”. Mattias Falck extended the advantage to 6-1, before Simon Gauzy secured the next two points. Mattias Falck called “Time Out”.

Deep breaths, Mattias Falck maintained his ascendancy forcing Simon Gauzy away from the table, at 10-7 match point, converted at first opportunity.

Mattias Falck responded to the occasion (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Xu Xin / Liu Shiwen beat Maharu Yoshimura / Kasumi Ishikawa 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4

Mixed Doubles Final

A very determined Ma Lin sitting courtside in the role of coach, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen secured the opening game in style; true to best traditions associated with the art of doubles, they excelled in the short play, close to the net.

Immediately, Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa responded, they established a 5-2 lead in the second game. It ignited a response from Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, they surrendered just three more points, a 2-0 lead was secured.

In the third game Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa established a 10-5 lead, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen won the next four points. Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa elected for “Time Out”, the break worked, they secured the next point; the deficit was down to one game.

A close call, the fourth game was no different, decided 11-9, only this time in favour of Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, after having held a 9-6 lead and at 10-8 elected for “Time Out”.

The momentum with Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen; in the fifth game they established a commanding 8-3 lead; at 10-3, seven match points, one saved, no more.

Gold for Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, as in 2015 in Suzhou, silver for Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa.

The moment of victory for Liu Shiwen (left) and right Xu Xin (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Liang Jingkun beat Koki Niwa 12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5

Men’s Singles Quarter-Final

Little to choose in the opening, Koki Niwa had a chance to succeed at 10-9 but was unable to seize the opportunity; Liang Jingkun secured the next three points and held the early advantage.

In the second game, Liang Jingkun established a 10-6 lead, he lost the next three points. Immediately, Liu Guozheng, the Chinese national team coach on duty called “Time Out”. Serving, Koki Niwa won the next point to level and then the next two to win the game.

A case of opportunities missed chances taken. Stern words from Liu Guozheng; quick to attack, Liang Jingkun established a 10-5 lead in the third game but again experienced problems concluding matters. He needed three attempts.

Positive, in the fourth game, Liang Jingkun won the first three points, Koki Niwa called “Time Out”. However, Liang Jingkun was the beneficiary, he won the next five points; eventually the game despite at  an outrageous backhand block from Koki Niwa.

The momentum was now in favour of Liang Jingkun, he led 7-4 but Koki Niwa, displaying his talents to the full recovered to secure the game. Now Liang Jingkun was nervous, tentative; in the frame of Koki Niwa a sense of belief, he secured the sixth games, a decider beckoned.

Liang Jingkun, clearly advised to attack the Koki Niwa serve whenever possible, led 5-0 at the change of ends. The gap was too great to close; Liu Guozheng, the great fighter, mentally so strong, had transmitted those qualities to his pupil.

In his first World Championships, Liang Jingkun had a medal to his name; Ma Long, his semi-final opponent will influence the colour.

Liang Jingkun, eventually overcame Koki Niwa (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Ma Long beat Lin Gaoyuan 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4

Men’s Singles Quarter-Final

Focused, Ma Long was quick to seize the advantage; the opening game secured with a degree of authority. Success in the opening game for Ma Long, it was the same in the second, the points brief, serve, receive and first attack the crucial elements.

In the third game Ma Long established an 8-7 lead. He called “Time Out”; the benefit of hindsight underlined a wise move but one wondered if necessary. He won the next point, eventually won the game.

Stopping the Ma Long juggernaut, Lin Gaoyuan made errors as he tried to seize the opportunity. Trailing 2-5 in the fourth game, he elected for “Time Out”. Ma Long was now in total command, he won the next five points. At his third attempt, he secured victory.

Ma Long (furthest from camera) best colleague Lin Gaoyuan to reserve his place in the semi-finalsChen Meng beats Wang Manyu 11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8
Chen Meng beat Wang Manyu 11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8

Women’s Singles Semi-Final

The more powerful player, Chen Meng secured the opening game. In the second, focusing her attacking play on many occasions towards the forehand of Wang Manyu, Chen Meng doubled her advantage.

Unusually when receiving service and playing a forehand top spin, Wang Manyu stand in a very square position, her feet parallel to the table.

Chen Meng secured the third game 11-5 after it had been parity at 4-all; in the fifth game she went ahead 5-4, Wang Manyu called “Time Out”. It was to prove to no avail; at 10-7 Chen Meng held three match points, she converted at the second attempt.

Thus Chen Meng underlined her liking for playing Wang Manyu in Budapest; earlier this year in January she beat Wang Manyu at the semi-final stage of the women’s singles event at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open.

Victory for Chen Meng (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Response from Ding Ning

Women’s Singles Semi-Final

Ding Ning reflects on her defeat

“I think today Liu Shiwen did not enter into the match rhythm very quickly. Actually in the second game, I was behind but I dealt with some crucial points to take game two.

From Game three, Liu Shiwen made a lot high quality shots when both attacking and defending. Her speed was also super fast, which gave me a lot of pressure. I could not find solutions to counter her speed. I tried to accelerate but she came back with faster. She became more and more relaxed when the match entered into her rhythm.” Ding Ning

Liu Shiwen reflects

Women’s Singles Semi-Final

Success for Liu Shiwen, she gave her thoughts

“When I was 0-2 down, especially when I led in the second game but Ding Ning managed to come back, I felt I have no other way. I just focus point by point. First, there is a specific rule stating that we cannot play 11-0. Second, Ding Ning is a very strong player. I do not dare to relax even a little bit. Third, this is also a way to respect the opponent.” Ding Ning

Liu Shiwen en route to beating Ding Ning (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Reign ends: Liu Shiwen beats Ding Ning 6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-0, 11-2

Women’s Singles Semi-Final

Ding Ning made the better start; in the opening game she went ahead 5-1; it was a lead she never relinquished. She secured the game 11-6. In the second she trailed 6-9, before the determination shone through, five points in a row gave her a two games to nil lead. Stung Liu Shiwen established an early lead in the third game; this time the advantage was not relinquished; deficit down to one game.

Fast close to the table play; if they had turned the table the other way around and played across the arena there would have been enough space!

Positioning herself very much at the centre of the table to cover any angle Ding Ning may achieve wide to the forehand, Liu Shiwen captured the fourth game; parity.

A rhythm established, not an error in sight, Liu Shiwen created a sight never been seen before; in the fifth game Ding Ning did not win a single point! The momentum was with Liu Shiwen, her consistency remarkable.

In the sixth game Liu Shiwen made the better start, she went ahead 4-2, Ding Ning called “Time Out”. The break worked in favour of Liu Shiwen, she did not lose another point.

Unusually, Ding Ning rarely used her favoured tomahawk serving technique.

Defeat for Ding Ning, the speed of Liu Shiwen crucial (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen start the day

Remember Suzhou

Former Russian international and at the time the Netherlands’ coach, Elena Timina remarked “every girl who lays table tennis should watch the recording of that match”. It was the women’s singles final at the Qoros 2015 World Championships in Suzhou when at the start of the vital seventh game, Ding Ning twisted her ankle, took a 1o minute injury break and then showed two facets that made her the champion.

Virtually playing on one foot, she displayed immense character and vastly important, she adapted.

However, also do not forget in three consecutive ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, starting in 2011, Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen met in the women’s singles gold medal contest. On each occasion Liu Shiwen won

Action underway

Here we go, it’s time for Day Six to get underway – for detailed information take a look at the fixture schedule below:

Preview Day Six

See what’s coming up on Day Six with our quick preview article:

Preview Day Six: New heights and first trophy up for grabs

Bernadette Szocs x TATA Trickshot

Watch Bernadette Szocs take on the TATA Trickshot three doors challenge:

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2019 World Table Tennis Championships Budapest 2019
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Day 8 - 2019 World Table Tennis Championships

Match Highlights