“It is my first time playing at the World Cup, it’s a big competition! The only regret I have is that the fans are unable to cheers for us during the competition.” Jang Woojin
RESULT: Jang Woojin 4-2 Jeoung Youngsik (15-13, 11-9, 2-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6)
And that just about wraps up Day 2 here at the Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup with Jang beating fellow countryman Jeoung 4-2. Reeling from a painful start, Jeoung begins to show signs of improvement but it’s not enough to change the course of the match.
Success for Jang Woojin, he now goes on to face Fan Zhendong in the semi-finals while Tomokazu Harimoto awaits Ma Long in the other penultimate round tie.
What a start to this one with drama throughout the opening two games. Jeoung saves four game points in total but falls short in game one (15-13), before Jang delivers an incredible comeback effort from 2-7 down to extend his advantage (11-9). Don’t go anywhere!
Closing fixture of Day 2
The final match of the day is an all-Korean affair with Jang Woojin taking on Jeoung Youngsik.
RESULT: Fan Zhendong 4-2 Lin Yun-Ju (12-10, 9-11, 11-2, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6)
The third player to progress from the quarter-finals is Fan. Encouraging signs in game five, Lin wasn’t ready to give up the fight and continued to push the top seed hard. However, it’s the end of the road for the Chinese Taipei competitor with China’s Fan proving one step too far – it has finished 4-2 here.
Back to basics
Lin responds immediately with a fine display in game two (11-9) but it has since been one-way traffic in Fan’s favour with games three and four proving much more comfortable outings at the table for the latter player (11-2, 11-5). Last year’s bronze medallist is struggling to keep up with Fan’s pace, making a number of unforced errors in the process. You sense Lin needs to return to basics and build from there.
Fan strikes first
A tight start to this third quarter-final here in Weihai and Lin Yun-Ju is disappointed not to earn the opening game. The Chinese Taipei teenager led for the majority of the game and held a game point opportunity but failed to capitalise, allowing Fan Zhendong to steal game one (12-10). This one has all the makings of an epic!
“Although I won 4-1, I don’t think there was a very big difference from the earlier match, it’s just that I felt more focused on the match compared to the morning. I am actually looking forward to the match against Harimoto as he is one of our biggest opponents. I lost to him last year in the Men’s World Cup, so I hope I can do better tomorrow.” Ma Long
RESULT: Ma Long 4-1 Dimitrij Ovtcharov (11-9, 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5)
So there’s to be no comeback fight from Dima as Ma completes the job in five games. It was clear from an early stage in the tie that there was only ever going to be one winner here with Ma producing the goods right from the off. The last four awaits for the Chinese superstar.
Dima back in with a shout
Losing out in game three (11-7), there is no more room for error and Dima clearly understands the measure of the task ahead of him with a much stronger fight in game four. The German is finding some rhythm and finally manages to put his name on the scoreboard (11-7). Still some work to do but can Dima fight his way back into the contest?
The Dragon roars to early lead
Two games down and it’s Ma Long the Dragon who holds the early authority here with both games going in his favour (11-9, 11-4). Both players are producing some wonderful attacking table tennis, making for a wonderful spectacle. Dima could really do with a game win in his court otherwise this one could soon be out of reach for the German.
Clash of giants
Next up we have a mouthwatering line-up as World champion Ma Long welcomes 2017 Men’s World Cup winner Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the second quarter-final of the day.
“In the eight months where there was no competition, the biggest lesson I learnt was a mental lesson, how to calm myself down and, with a clear mind, know what I want to do next and execute it. I thought my serve and receive game was on point today and the way I managed the game while I was leading was the best area of my performance.” Tomokazu Harimoto
RESULT: Tomokazu Harimoto 4-1 Mattias Falck (11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9)
There we have it, it’s Harimoto who claims the first semi-final ticket after completing an impressive five-game victory over 2019 World Championships runner up Falck.
Putting a game on the board, it looked as though the tables were beginning to turn with Falck earning four points in a row from 7-5 down in game five to lead 7-9 only for Harimoto to replicate his opponent’s run with four consecutive points of his own to seal the win.
Pressure mounting for Swede
The momentum is really beginning to align with Harimoto now, who now leads 3-0 with back-to-back game wins (11-8, 11-9) and needs just one more game to bring this match to a close. Falck is giving it his all and appears to enjoy some benefit from a time-out call in game three, however, the Swede still can’t find a footing in this one and the pressure is now well and truly mounting for the European.
Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto is ahead after a truly dramatic first game to his quarter-final encounter with Sweden’s Mattias Falck. Trailing 2-7, Harimoto grabs nine of the following 11 points to take the opener (11-9). Falck will be disappointed to find himself behind having held such a commanding lead in game one, but he won’t let his head drop.
Time for a breather
With all round of 16 matches now complete, a break in session will take place. The quarter-finals of the Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup will be played from 18:30 local time. Here’s a look ahead to the fixture line-up:
Be sure to be back in time to catch the action live!
RESULT: Jang Woojin 4-3 Koki Niwa (11-13, 11-4, 12-14, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10)
What a way to conclude the first knockout round of the Men’s World Cup! After a full hour of play, Jang Woojin has made a remarkable comeback to defeat Koki Niwa and reach the quarter-finals. Jang completely turned the tables on his Japanese opponent in the last three games, making sure Niwa did not even an inch to use. It has truly been a gruelling affair for both athletes, which might play a part in how the Korea Republican’s match against his compatriot Jeoung Youngsik goes later today.
Jang Woojin has managed to recover from being 1-3 down to levelling up the scores at 3-3 with some brilliant and patient play against Koki Niwa. It’s yet another decider at the Men’s World Cup – defining the quality of talent at show here in Weihai, China.
The Japanese seems to have heard us and made the leap in taking a 3-1 (13-11, 4-11, 14-12, 11-8) lead over his Asian colleague. Jang Woojin appears to be playing more defensive than usual, and Koki Niwa is certainly looking to take advantage here.
Asian domestic to conclude round
Jang Woojin and Koki Niwa are the final match-up in the round of 16 for the Men’s World Cup here in Weihai. The Korea Republic and Japanese internationals are both neck-and-neck at the start of their tie, winning a game apiece (11-13, 11-4). Who will make the first big move?
RESULT: Jeoung Youngsik 4-2 Hugo Calderano (11-8, 14-16, 11-6, 10-12, 11-2, 11-7)
And it is Jeoung Youngsik who has reach the quarter-finals by seeing off the challenge of group qualifier Hugo Calderano in six games, lasting well over an hour and thirteen minutes. It was almost as if the Asian athlete found a corner of the table that worked best for him, given his attacking shots coming in consistency after the fifth game started. For the Brazilian, it is an early end to what looked like a sustained stint at the tournament.
RESULT: Lin Yun-Ju 4-2 Patrick Franziska (15-13, 8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2)
Lin Yun-Ju has ended the promising run of the German Patrick Franziska at the Men’s World Cup with a drawn out victory here in Weihai. The Chinese Taipei athlete played edge to edge against Franziska, and needed to be at his absolute best to assure himself a place in the next round.
“I am happy to have won this match. At the start my head wasn’t fully in the game but I managed to slowly turn it around. I played against Patrick once last year and know a little about his game. I tried to initiate the attack in the first 3 ball but at the start i was a little hesitant but I relaxed a little more and try to show what I can do” Lin Yun-Ju
The balance continues
Both match-ups are still locked in on equal games, seeing the same overall score of 2-2 for Jeoung and Calderano & Franziska and Lin.
Jeoung has taken more initiative against Calderano in their battle, while it is clearly Lin being very creative in his approach against Franziska – making sure the German is travelling across the table’s length at every rally. Who is heading to the quarters??
Stalemate to begin
Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik is up against Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, as the two athletes collide for a place in the quarter-final. After Jeoung recorded an opening 11-8 win, Calderano has followed it up with a 16-14 win in the second – with clear signs of service being critical in this match-up.
Patrick Franziska, hero of match day one, has also managed to level the scores against upcoming talent from Chinese Taipei, Lin Yun-Ju. The world no.7 took the first game 15-13 before finding himself on the wrong side of the 11-8 second game score. Who has money on both of these going to a decider?
RESULT: Fan Zhendong 4-0 Chuang Chih-Yuan (11-5, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6)
The world no.1 was briefly in action here at the Weihai Nanhai Olympic Sport Centre, and was in complete control throughout the 33 minutes of his match against Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan. Winning in straight games, Fan Zhendong looked to be in top gear from the off, meaning there was little to no room for Chuang to operate in. Is this a sign of things to come for Fan as he chases history?
“I prepared well for this match, after all I haven’t played with Chuang in a long time. I thought was able to move well in the match. I hope to be able to play better as the competition progresses. Afterall it is the first match of this competition for me, there would be some hesitancy and uncertainty. Just hope to improve with each match. The competition in the overall table tennis world is getting tighter. Veteran players like Timo Boll, Samsonov and Chuang are still here. Together with the rising young stars, everyone is trying to push the boundaries to take table tennis to new heights. I cherish being able to be able to compete and play amongst this group of elite players.” Fan Zhendong
RESULT: Mattias Falck 4-3 Wong Chun Ting (8-11, 11-7, 14-12, 10-12, 11-6, 11-13, 17-15)
Simply magnificent table tennis has been the order of the day here, and these two have just had a sensational addition to it. Mattias Falck and Wong Chun Ting have given us another seven game nail-biter to enjoy, lasting well over an hour and eleven minutes – with the Swedish athlete reaching the quarter-finals. But it was not for a lack of effort by his Hong Kong China opponent, who pushed him all the way throughout the match, coming up short just in the final game.
“I expected a tough match, the last time we also played a 4-3 match down to the last 2 points. I was leading in the 6th games, the difference were small margins but I was trying to focus on my own game so that I could come out in the seventh strong and believe in myself. Wong is one of the few pen-holders left and it is always hard playing against this kind of opponent.” Mattias Falck
RESULT: Tomokazu Harimoto 4-0 Robert Gardos (11-3, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8)
It was a quickfire round of 16 battle here between these two, as Tomokazu Harimoto swiftly eliminated Robert Gardos in under 28 minutes! The four games serve as reminders of the class of this young Japanese, as well as the clear threat he poses as a favourite for this trophy.
“I was still a little nervous, didn’t manage to perform to my best today. It is a little different from usual nervousness, didn’t dare to put too much into it as I was scared of making an error. First game was ok but the level was raised from the 2nd game onwards and I had to adjust to it. Today’s victory was was because I played safe and avoid making mistakes but in the next matches I will need to start attacking. First goal is to play till the top 4 and face the top players and then from there to try and win the title.” Tomokazu Harimoto
Next up, we have Tomokazu Harimoto taking on Robert Gardos – where the teenager has clearly taken a speedy approach and established a quick 2-0 (11-3, 11-7) lead over the veteran – is there any way back for the Austrian?
Over at table 2, Wong Chun Ting and Mattias Falck have exchanged a game each in the opening honours of their round of 16 match. Neither athlete is showing signs of weakness – another decider incoming??
RESULT: Dimitrij Ovtcharov 4-3 Liam Pitchford (12-10, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-13, 11-7)
Well the prediction for a decider was spot on as the battle between the two Europeans went all the way, and the former World Cup winner coming out on top – by a whisker. In a one hour epic, Liam Pitchford looked to have made his mark on the competition as he edged towards an early lead before ‘Dima’ took it for himself. The Englishman then equalized in stunning fashion in the sixth game, only to lose the final game where the German won four consecutive points to seal the deal.
RESULT: Ma Long 4-2 Darko Jorgic (11-7, 12-14, 11-9, 11-13, 13-11, 11-3)
The impressive run of Darko Jorgic is wrapped up neatly in a bow by Ma Long as the veteran emerges victorious in six games. The Slovenian athlete definitely gave an account of himself to the three time world champion but the Chinese just had simply too much in his arsenal to keep him at bay.
“Due to the pandemic this year, it was easy organising an event like this. Very thankful to all who made this happen from the organising committee to the ITTF and CTTA, giving us a platform to perform to our best. I believe that everyone here will do our utmost to compete. It was the first time I played against Darko and from the score you can tell that it was really not an easy match. It wasn’t entirely due to getting used to the conditions, every athlete have their uniqueness and he is a rising star from Europe. In our exchange today, he was able to fully show the level that he is able to compete on.” Ma Long
Darko Jorgic has clearly no plans of handing in the towel here as the Slovenian has taken the second game (14-12) against Ma Long 14-12 and is pushing the Dragon to keep the match from running away. It may be a tough task as the Chinese has again taken the lead, winning the third game 11-9.
Meanwhile, Liam Pitchford has won two games back to back (11-9, 11-4) to grab the lead before Dimitrij Ovtcharov balanced the scoreline with an 11-5 win in the fourth game. Anyone else betting on a seven-game thriller here??
Top seeds lead
In what are the first matches of the day, top seeds Ma Long and Dimitrij Ovtcharov are in the lead against Darko Jorgic and Liam Pitchford respectively.
Ma Long has a opened with a commanding 11-7 win in 10 minutes,while the German needed to squeeze in a 12-10 win in the same time frame. Will the group qualifiers make them blink?
What’s coming your way?
All four semi-finalists will be decided on day two, in the hunt for the gold medal. Here’s a look ahead to the day’s fixture line-up:
Welcome back to #RESTART!
Good morning and welcome to day two of the Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup and with it the second stop on the #RESTART series line.
Today’s action sees 16 athletes in Weihai contest the first knockout round of the event. You can read up on the draw here.