by Ian Marshall, Editor
It was a fit, free from injury Dimitrij Ovtcharov who beat Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting in the second round of the men’s singles event; he won in four straight games (11-4, 11-5, 12-10, 11-4). The win was as predicted; Dimitrij Ovtcharov was the no.8 seed, Wong Chun Ting, the no.12 seed.
Furthermore, Dimitrij Ovtcharov had won all three previous meetings in international tournaments. On the ITTF World Tour in 2016 he had prevailed in Kuwait and China, as well as the following year on home soil in Magdeburg.
However, Wong Chun Ting is an exciting player, dynamic, athletic, a joy to watch in the counter top spin rallies; any highly rated adversary, only a few per cent below their best, when facing the 27 year old pen-holder is in big trouble.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov, may not have been at his peak, the form that saw him win the Liebherr 2017 Men’s World Cup in Liège but he was not too far adrift. Significantly, he executed a most professional performance.
“Today my tactics were good; I was very determined, focused and I never missed; after I won the first game his confidence was down. I was able to take advantage of the situation. The fourth game was close, leading 11-10 I returned the service with a long fast push, it surprised him. In the fifth I established an early lead and maintained the advantage.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
A comprehensive win for Dimitrij Ovtcharov; the previous day facing Japan’s Yukiya Uda, life had been somewhat different. The first match in a tournament is always difficult, so it proved for the Dimitrij Ovtcharov; eventually he won but not after staring into the abyss as the fifth game came to a conclusion. The end result was a hard earned full distance success (11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-6).
“I played him two months ago in Australia and I won 4-2, I felt I controlled matters but yesterday it was very different, he has improved so much in the last three months. He showed no weaknesses, I thought I played well but wherever I put the ball he was there. He was not playing under any pressure and could play freely but he was so quick, so fast. In the fifth game we were level at 9-all, I won that game and then he fell away a bit. Nevertheless, his progress is quite remarkable.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov
However, the key factor is that Dimitrij Ovtcharov survived the potential crisis; he responded when matters were not going your way. It endorses the fact the event he missed last year is now very much possible.
He did not qualify for the 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals; this year he is on course. Prior to play commencing in Stockholm, on the men’s singles standing he was listed at no.11 (356 points). He is on course.