by Kabir Nagpal
Mattias Falck 3-1 Xu Xin (11-7, 11-10, 2-11, 11-8)
If there is a better way to commence an evening session, we do not know! Mattias Falck has just made personal history as the Sweden international defeated world no.2 Xu Xin for the first time ever!
China’s Xu had the pick of the lot as the top seed after Top 4 Seed Battles had been concluded and he chose Falck to be his quarter-final opponent. That seems to have been a decision which costed him as the Swede was simply in stunning form, winning the first two games to establish control.
Despite Xu’s win in the third, the day belonged to Falck, who – having previously lost times to the Chinese (2010, 2015, 2017 & 2019) – managed to become the third European to claim victory over Xu. Most recently, Xu has lost out to Simon Gauzy at the 2019 ITTF World Championships and also against Liam Pitchford a few months ago at the 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open.
Today, it was almost as if Falck was channelling his teacher, Jörgen Persson, who was always a thorn in the Chinese athletes side.
Chen Meng 3-1 Feng Tianwei (11-10, 11-7, 10-11, 11-3)
After that power packed start to the evening session, the female athletes had a tense encounter as Chen Meng managed to swerve the tricky shots of Feng Tianwei to make the semi-finals of WTT Macao.
Despite taking a 2-0 lead, the world no.1 needed to keep her cool as Feng returned to within one having won the third game. It was eventually one step too far for the Singapore veteran, as the top seed from China made her dominance count.
Wang Manyu 3-1 Cheng I-Ching (11-3, 11-7, 8-11, 11-3)
There is a swagger about Wang Manyu here in Macao and for good reason! Having picked Cheng I-Ching as her quarter-final opponent, the Chinese has come through with a strong show of her forehand power to win in four games.
The Chinese Taipei qualifier from Battle Two could not stop the momentum her opponent had, even after winning the third game. With the women’s semi-finals decided, Wang will want to carry her form into the tough match that awaits her tomorrow against Sun Yingsha.
Wang Chuqin 3-2 Hugo Calderano (11-10, 8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9)
Concluding Day Three in style, Wang Chuqin and Hugo Calderano gave the socially distanced fans in the stadium a lovely send-off with a true nail-biter.
The Chinese teenager took the early lead, and was then immediately pulled back by the Thrill from Brazil – something that was the trend for the rest of the match. After the decider was called, Wang found his rhythm and stuck to it, making sure not to allow Calderano any space to work with – and setting both his feet into the semi-final against Mattias Falck tomorrow.