Tournaments

23 Aug 2019

Follow the second day of the main event in Olomouc as the battle for the 2019 ITTF World Tour Czech Open continues on Friday 23rd August:

Fight to the finish

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Sofia Polcanova has earned her place in the quarter-final. Very evenly matched with Japan’s Saki Shibata, the 24-year-old Austrian played with everything she had, going game for game and then point for point with Shibata in one of the closest-fought matches of the day. The two had drawn to 9-9 in the seventh game before Polcanova surged to take the final two points and the win (11-7, 8-11, 6-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9).

“It was a really tough match. Last time I played against Shibata was two years ago here at the Czech Open and I also won 11-9 in the seventh set so this is like deja vu for me. She is a really tough opponent — her forehead is really fast and strong so in the first three games, I tried to put more balls to her backhand. But it didn’t work as well as I expected because she improved her backhand a lot too. So I tried to make a lot of variations also with the service and it worked. We played a good match and of course, I am happy with the result. Yesterday I won the first round match from 0-3 down but if I played well yesterday it doesn’t mean that I will play well today. It is another day, another opponent, and another match.” Sofia Polcanova

Sofia Polcanova fought hard — and won.
Feng finds a place

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

China’s depth report is off the charts. Latest case in point: 29-year-old Feng Yalan, who joins He Zhuojia, Chen Xingtong and Liu Weishan in the quarters after beating Hitomi Sato of Japan 4-1 (5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8). Her opponent tomorrow will be Korea’s Jeon Jihee, who beat teammate Suh Hyowon 4-0 for the privilege (12-10, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9).

Quarter-finals beckon for Feng Yalan.
Calderano, Shibaev book last spots in quarter-final

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Fresh off his golden performances at the Pan American Games in Peru 10 days ago, no.2 seed Hugo Calderano of Brazil wasted no time advancing to the quarter-final in the Czech Republic. The Brazilian star put away India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the 14th seeded player, in straight games (12-10, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7).

No surprise there. What did raise some eyebrows was the battle for the final spot in the men’s quarter-final, won by Alexander Shibaev over China’s Ma Te 4-0 (11-5, 15-13, 12-10, 11-9). Ma kept it close, but Shibaev was always a step ahead.

Russia’s Alexander Shibaev has a date with the quarter-final.
Franziska fights back, takes one from Mizutani

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

First Ovtcharov, then Franziska: The good news for Germany continued as no. 10 seed Patrick Franziska outlasted no. 6 Jun Mizutani 4-3 in another epic battle (10-12, 11-6, 13-15, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-1), fighting back from a 1-3 deficit to overtake one of his idols. This sets up what will be a very interesting Ovtcharov-Franziska qaurterfinal match up tomorrow.

Franziska was delighted with his win over Mizutani, whom he has played twice but never beaten.

“This is a very big victory for me. He is one of the world’s best players and I was looking up to him when I was young. The victory is even bigger because I was 1-3 and 7-10 down. The first three games I was leading all the time but I won only one of them so I was a little bit disappointed. But then I just tried to fight, tried to focus, and tried to stay positive. I had already turned matches like this in the past, so I have so much confidence right now. I know that I can win the matches even if I am down.” Patrick Franziska

Patrick Franziska scored his first career win over Jun Mizutani.

 

Clash of the titans!

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

It was Dimitrij Ovtcharov getting the better of 43-year-old Vladimir Samsonov in a titanic clash of legends that ended in a 4-1 margin of victory for the German player (11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7). The 30-year-old Ovtcharov won their last duel 4-3 at the ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup, and in Olomouc was able to take the win in a more commanding fashion.

An epic battle of two legends it may have been, but you never saw such friendly rivals. Ovtcharov thinks his ultimate victory stemmed from the fourth game, which gave him a 3-1 lead.

“We are really good friends off the court so it was important to set your mind to that we are now rivals and that it is important to win and put the friendship away for 45 minutes. Maybe I did this a little bit better than Vladi. Actually, it was one of my best matches in the past few months so I am very satisfied. I won the fourth set 12-10 and that broke him a little bit…” Dimitrij Ovtcharov

Japan’s second chance

Women’s Doubles: Semi-finals

Japan will play for the women’s doubles title after all in Olomouc, though not with the pair that were initially projected to go all the way. The no.1 seeds Miyuu Kihara and Miya Kagasaki may have been eliminated by finalists Gu Yiting and Mu Zi, but Miu Hirano and Saki Shibata have stepped up. Following a 3-1 win over Kim Hayeong and Lee Eunhye of Korea (7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10), they’ll face Gu and Yu. Things are going to get interesting…

Saki Shibata and Miu Hirano are Olomouc finalists. (Photo; Lukas Kabon).
Gu and Mu: A golden chance

Women’s Doubles: Semi-finals

A day after ejecting top seeds Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki, Gu Yuting and Mu Zi have now embraced the idea that they could take the whole thing. The Chinese duo are one step away from the top of the podium in Olomouc after defeating Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsein-Tzu 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-7). How does that feel?

“Today we felt more comfortable. Our team chemistry is getting better and better and our partnership is improving. Today it was a clean win for us. We will prepare for the final tomorrow and we will try our best.” Gu Yuting and Mu Zi

Good fortunes so far for Gu and Mu in Olomouc. (Photo: Lukas Kabon)
Austria and Korea, to the wire

Men’s Doubles: Semi-finals

Cho Daeseong and Lee Sangsu have a shot at the title! The Korean pair will face Lin Yun-Ju and Liao Cheng-Ting, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of Austria’s Daniel Habesohn and Robert Gardos, who nearly pulled off a semi-final upset in Cho and Lee’s 3-2 victory (9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7).

Cho Daeseong and Lee Sangsu were taken to the max by Daniel Habesohn and Robert Gardos. (Photo: Lukas Kabon).
A chance for Chinese Taipei

Men’s Doubles: Semi-finals

Lin Yun-Ju and Liao Cheng-Ting will play for the title in Olomouc, having beaten Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi in straight games (11-7, 11-8, 11-9). In two years of playing together, the pair boasts one title to their name, from the ITTF Challenge Plus Oman Open in Muscat earlier this year.

“Our partnership is very strong and that is the reason we won. We came to the tournament without big goals. We just wanted to play well match by match and try our best. But we feel really good we won all three matches 3-0. We are very happy that we will play in the final tomorrow.”  Lin Yun-Ju and Liao Cheng-Ting

Lin and Liao go title hunting. (Photo: Ireneusz Kanabrodzki)
Japan jumps into the final

Mixed Doubles: Semi-finals

Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito will face Shin Yubin and Cho Daeseong for the ITTF Czech World Tour mixed doubles title. The Japanese duo made quick work of Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi and Bruna Takahashi, winning (11-9, 11-6, 11-2) and can now concentrate on the task ahead of them.

Mizutani and Ito have only played together since earlier this summer, yet the partnership is sizzling: they made it to the semis of the Korea Open (only to fall to Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen) and the final of the Australian Open (where they lost to Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem) – can a title be that far away?

Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito: Ready for anything.
Korea Republic makes final, but will their opponents be Japan or Brazil?

Mixed Doubles: Semi-finals

Easy contest for Shin Yubin and Cho Daeseong against Austrians Stefan Fegerl and Sofia Polcanova in their semi-final: the Koreans needed less than 20 minutes to seal a 3-0 win (11-6, 11-5, 11-9) and advance to the final, where they will face the winner of the Gustavo Tsuboi/Bruna Takahashi vs. Jun Mizutani/Mima Ito match up.

Shin Yubin and Cho Daeseong will play for the title in Olomouc.
Hirano stops Matelova party

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Home favorite Hana Matelova was stopped in her tracks by the energetic Miu Hirano, who won in straight games against the Czech Republic international (11-9, 11-9, 11-2, 11-8).

There was little room for Matelova to work with, given the speed at which Hiarno was playing. Her forehands were especially powerful and paved the way for the Japanese into the quarter-finals. Over on Table 3, Liu Weishan won by the same score versus Singapore’s Feng Tianwei in a commanding display by the Chinese (11-9, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3).

Boll returns with a win

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

The legendary Timo Boll returned to ITTF World Tour action with an emphatic win over Japan’s Yukiya Uda, with the four game match spanning just under 30 minutes (11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7). German Boll was efficient with his service, not allowing Uda anytime to settle during the match.

That was also true for the crowd watching Romanian Cristian Pletea face off against Japan’s Yuki Hirano, who were engaged in a 7-game thriller. Pletea, fresh from eliminating top seed Tomokazu Harimoto, was in fine form winning three games back to back versus Hirano. But then the Japanese hit back with three of his own, the final one being the decider – sending Hirano through to the quarter-finals.

Japanese duo pushed, but not defeated

Women’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

It was a major shock for all fans in the crowd as Japan’s Miu Hirano and Saki Shibata were pushed to the limit in a five-game crunch match-up with Poland’s Natalia Bajor and Natalia Partyka.

Bajor and Partyka showed immense resistance against the Japanese pair, matching them shot for shot in each game. During the decider, the Polish were up 9-6 when Hirano and Shibata rolled up their sleeves and grounded out a very important win (9-11, 11-2, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9).

So close, yet so far for Natalia Partyka and Natalia Bajor (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Hungarian shock for Allegro-Lambiet

Men’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

The Belgian pairing of Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet were in for a shock as they faced Hungarians Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi for a place in the semi-finals.

Ecseki and Szudi started strong and that itself seemed to shake the Belgian duo. The match lasted barely 25 minutes in which the Hungarians claimed a deserved victory (11-5, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7). Over on Table 1, Austrians Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn knocked out Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting in a fairly similar manner (11-8, 10-12, 11-2, 11-3).

“We are very happy to win this game. We lost against them last two or three matches but today we were well prepared. We tried to open the game more not to play too much short. And also we moved really well today. But it was very close we were 1-0 and 9-7 up and we lost the game so it was 1-1. But after we played really concentrated we didn´t make almost any easy mistakes and that was the key to the victory. We also had many lucky balls which are very important in table tennis. In doubles it is going really fast it is very important to start the set well then you have more confidence. We had a really tough draw in the 1st round we won 3-2 against strong Chinese pair so we are happy that we survived.” Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn

Not a “Guten Tag” for Dang-Nina

Mixed Doubles: Quarter-finals

After coming back from the jaws of defeat yesterday, the morning game between the German duo of Qiu Dang and Nina Mittelham and their Brazilian opponents was one to look forward to.

Qiu and Mittelham sadly could not channel yesterday’s energy as they lost in straight games (11-8, 11-8, 11-7). Meanwhile, China’s Ma Te and Wu Yang – the conquerors of top seeds Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee – lost out to their Korean compatriots Cho Daeseong and Shin Yubin in a close encounter (4-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7).

And the action continues!

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Day 4 - 2019 ITTF World Tour Czech Open

Match Highlights