Olympic Games

Dimitrij OVTCHAROV reached the penultimate stage of the Singles Event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Photo: Rémy Gros ITTF

Penultimate round places at stake, thus a major opportunity to gain a precious medal, on Wednesday 28th July at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Germany’s Dimitrij OVTCHAROV was the one name that remained.

Slovenia’s Darko JORGIC departed the scene as did HAN Ying, also from Germany.

Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, the no.7 seed, recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Brazil’s Hugo CALDERANO, the no.4 seed (7-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 11-2); a surprise according to status but not when considering history. Dimitrij OVTCHAROV had won both prior international exchanges; in the ITTF World Tour he prevailed in 2014 in Qatar and in 2019 in the Czech Republic.

“He played extremely strong in the first two games, hitting every ball and missing nothing. He put a lot of pressure on me, and I couldn’t find my game, but I just told myself to stay in it and wait for my chance which eventually came. I could tell he really wanted to close out the third game, and I started to spot the pressure on him, using it to my advantage. Suddenly, something shifted in the game and I was on top. I’m feeling tired after this match, but I’m excited for tomorrow, so I’ll rest, sleep and give my all tomorrow,” said OVTCHAROV.

Alas for Darko JORGIC, the no.18 seed, it was the end of what proved to be a most memorable adventure, a quarter-final men’s singles place was beyond expectations.

He experienced defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s LIN Yun-Ju, the no.5 seed (11-4, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6).

Thus, the decision of their one previous international meeting was reversed. At the 2016 World Junior Championships in Cape Town, Darko JORGIC had prevailed.

Defeat in straight games for Darko JORGIC, at the corresponding stage of the women’s singles event, the outcome was the same for HAN Ying. The no.12 seed, the consistency of China’s SUN Yingsha, the no.2 seed, proved too great (11-8, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6).

Success for SUN Yingsha as status advised, it was the same for colleague CHEN Meng, the top seed. She beat Hong Kong’s DOO Hoi Kem, the no.8 seed (6-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-1, 11-8)

It was the same for the host nation’s Mima Ito, the no.3 seed, she accounted for Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee, the no.7 seed (11-5, 11-1, 12-10, 11-6).

However, there was an upset. Singapore’s YU Mengyu, the no.26 seed, ousted Japan’s Kasumi ISHIKAWA, the no.5 seed (8-11, 11-5, 14-12, 11-6, 11-2).

Women’s singles: semi-finals

11.00 CHEN Meng (CHN) v YU Mengyu (SGP)

12.00 Mima ITO (JPN) v SUN Yingsha (CHN)

20.00 Bronze Medal Match

21.00 Gold Medal Match

Meanwhile, in the men’s singles, FAN Zhendong, the top seed, overcame Korea Republic’s JEOUNG Youngsik, the no.10 seed (12-10, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5); Ma Long, the no.2 seed, ended the adventures of Egypt’s Omar ASSAR, the no.28 seed (11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 11-6).

Men’s singles: semi-final

15.00 FAN Zhendong (CHN) v LIN Yun-Ju (TPE)

16.00 Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER) v MA Long (CHN)

The semi-finals of the women’s singles will be played on Thursday 29th July followed by the bronze medal and gold medal matches; also, the men’s singles semi-finals will be played.

However, the bronze and gold medal men’s singles contests will be staged on Friday 30th July.