KOU upset the rankings, BOLL came back from the edgePhoto: ITTF
2016 Rio Olympic Games
World's no. one MA Long of China emerged victoriously to book his place in the Round of 16 in Men's Singles Event at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In the third round, on his first match in Riocentro - Pavilion 3 , World champion overcame Jonathan GROTH of Denmark (11-3, 11-2, 11-3, 11-9).
“I have mixed feelings, I lost but it was a great privilege to play the best player in the world. He made just one mistake in the whole match; at 10-5 in the fourth game he made an error with a forehand. I think I played well but everything came back with interest. He is a fantastic player.”
MA will meet JEOUNG Youngsik of Korea in the Round of 16. World's no. 10 overcame Liam PITCHFORD of Great Britain (6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-5, 11-5). Seeded no. 4 Jun MIZUTANI of Japan also justified his status. He beat Greece's Gionis PANAGIOTIS (11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6). Seeded no. 28 KOU Lei of Ukraine upset the rankings and beat no. 13 seed Simon GAUZY of France (6-11, 11-6, 14-16, 9-11, 6-11).
“The last time I played Simon I won, the deciding match in the European Qualification tournament in Halmstad,” said KOU.“After winning earlier today against Omar ASSAR after nearly being out of the tournament I did not feel under any pressure, I was able to play freely. I had most of the luck, the nets and edges.”
Portugal's Marcos FREITAS overcame Romania's Ovidiu IONESCU (11-9, 1-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).
In October 2015 Timo BOLL had knee surgery, but six months later he recovered to book his place for his fifth Games in Rio. However, on his first appearance in Riocentro he faced great problems against Alexander SHIBAEV of Russia. His struggling brought back memories of London 2012 when he was defeated much earlier than his rankings has predicted. In London CRISAN beat him in the match for the quarterfinal. Against SHIBAEV he faced another shocking defeat, but recovered to reach the Round of 16 (12-14, 11-4, 7;11, 11;7, 1--12, 12-10, 11-6).
In the lower half of the draw Paul DRINKHALL of Great Britain overcame GAO Ning of Singapore 4-3 (11-7, 11-6, 3-11, 11-3, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8) to advance to the Men’s Singles Round of 32. Tomorrow, he will meet Andrej GACINA of Croatia.
“Playing Gao Ning, I know him well but I’ve never previously beaten him. Certainly his forehand top spin is very good, he puts a lot of spin on the ball but today his fast backhand caused me more problems. I was serving, I used sidespin serves, maybe he was more relaxed, he played really great flick returns. In the seventh game I just found myself in the right zone, I felt confident in myself.”
Bojan TOKIC of SLovenia beat WANG Zengyi of Poland 4-2 (9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3)in the second round of the Men’s Singles event to meet Tiago APOLONIA of Portugal.
“I’ve always had problems playing WANG Zengyi but earlier this year in Qatar I beat him; he is very quick, he gives you little time to react. I know what to expect; I felt today that my top spin play from both backhand and forehand was strong.”