Jun MIZUTANI too strong for SaarbruckenPhoto: Courtesy Fakel Gazproma Orenburg
TTCLM Top seed Fakel Gazprom Orenburg beat away German side 3:1 in the first semi-final game
TTCLM Top seed and triple champion Fakel Gazprom Orenburg beat 2012 semi-finalist FC Saarbrucken 3:1 in the first semi-final leg of 2016/17 TTCLM. Japanese Jun MIZUTANI, World No. 6, got two points as he beat both Bojan TOKIC and Tiago APOLONIA. Returning match is scheduled for April 6th in the Russian city of Orenburg.
Tiago APOLONIA showed his best play so far in this season, defeating World No. 5 Dimitrij OVTCHAROV in straight games. Portuguese controlled the game with better outcomes in long distance exchange, but also his serve was impressive in several important moments. Host won one of most decisive rallies in late second set (10:9).
APOLONIA didn’t give OVTCHAROV any chance to play his game. When German finally found his rhythm, leading 8:5 in the third set, host changed his tactics and attacked sharply on OVTCHAROV`s serve. That kind of play pushed him to the winning direction, as he took last six points in a row (5:8, 11:8).
Bojan TOKIC and Jun MIZUTANI played a little bit strange clash. Host took just five points in total in first two sets, but he refused to give up. Slovenian ended third period in a superb style (4:4, 11:4) and continued in a same way in the next one (8:9, 11:9). Bronze medalist from 2016 Rio Olympics was extended to full distance and forced to play his best table tennis.
Vladimir SAMSONOV brought first lead to his side, as he overcame Patrick FRANZISKA who missed some TTCLM rounds due to injury. Belarus lost the opener, but won next three games in a row. German commenced fourth set by 5:1 in his favor, but 1997 World Championships runner-up replied with six consecutive points.
Finally, MIZUTANI secured victory to his side after 3:0 win against APOLONIA. Japanese controlled the match by his brilliant forehand.
2016/17 TTCLM semi-final, 1st leg
FC SAARBRUCKEN – TTC FAKEL GAZPROM ORENBURG 1:3
Tiago APOLONIA – Dimitrij OVTCHAROV 3:0 (11:6, 11:9, 11:8)
Bojan TOKIC – Jun MIZUTANI 2:3 (3:11, 2:11, 11:4, 11:9, 5:11)
Patrick FRANZISKA – Vladimir SAMSONOV 1:3 (11:9, 5:11, 3:11, 8:11)
Tiago APOLONIA – Jun MIZUTANI 0:3 (6:11, 5:11, 7:11)