by Kabir Nagpal
Mattias Falck vs Xu Xin
They say we all choose our own fates, and that was the case here in Macao at the quarterfinals. Top seed Xu Xin had the pick of the lot after leading the Top 4 Seed battle draw and chose to play the ‘English name’ as he called it. Sweden’s Mattias Falck was his choice, one that he may have regretted in hindsight.
It was a decision that had a heavy cost for Xu as Falck made personal history in defeating the world no.2 for the first time ever in his career (11-7, 11-10, 2-11, 11-8). After taking the first two games, even losing the third to Xu did not change the outcome of the match. The day very much belonged to Falck, who having previously lost a number of times to Xu (2010, 2015, 2017 & 2019) – managed to become only the third international player to claim victory over him.
Gustavo Tsuboi vs Zhao Zihao
A tricky affair was made into a match for glory as Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi pulled off a big upset after successfully defeating Zhao Zihao in the early stages of the WTT competition (4-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).
It was all looking good for the 23-year-old from China with game one going in his favour, but Zhao had experienced less time on the international scene than his opponent in recent weeks and it soon began to show. Tsuboi grew from strength to strength as the match progressed, and after four games it was the Latin American who took the honours, and the applause from the socially distanced fans!
Fang Bo vs Lin Yun-Ju
One of the biggest domestic upsets occurred here in Macao with world no.7 Lin Yun-Ju tasting defeat at the hands of the 16th seeded Fang Bo in a five-game nail-biter (11-7, 11-10, 2-11, 10-11, 13-11)!
Despite taking a 2-0 lead, Fang still had plenty to do with his teenage counterpart from Chinese Taipei capable of fighting back, and that’s exactly what happened with Lin producing a stunning response to level the match. However, Fang wasn’t to be denied, as he conjured up a magical set of forehands in the final game to secure a win that certainly sent shockwaves in the arena!
Chen Xingtong vs Chen Meng
Probably the most impressive athlete in Macao, the women’s silver medalist Chen Xingtong completed arguably the two greatest comeback victories of the entire week. And yet, it was her second consecutive comeback win that was so much more majestic – especially as it was against the nearly unbeatable world no.1 Chen Meng.
The 23-year-old Chen ousted her namesake, who had scooped gold medals earlier in the month at both the Dishang Women’s World Cup and Bank of Communications ITTF Finals. After losing the first three games of her semifinal, Chen Xingtong reeled off the next four to complete a stunning victory (10-11, 1-11, 7-11, 11-10, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7).