International Events | 28 Oct 2022

Dimitrij OVTCHAROV beat World champion FAN Zhendong

Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany has reached the semifinals of the $1 million WTT Cup Finals in Xinxiang (October 27th to 30th) with a 3:2 triumph over World number one and World champion FAN Zhendong. In the duel for entry into the final, OVTCHAROV is now waiting for the Japanese Tomokazu HARIMOTO on Saturday, who had previously prevailed in his quarter-final match against Timo BOLL of Germany. With his entry into the semi-finals, OVTCHAROV has at least 37,500 dollars in prize money and 525 world ranking points on his credit side, Timo BOLL has 30,000 dollars and 265 valuable points for the ITTF listing as a consolation.

A good year after his injury, which after a foot operation and intermittent setbacks when re-entering the training process could only be shelved eight months later in June 2022 with the start at the WTT Lima Contender, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV has his last in an impressive way today provided evidence of his return to the top of the World. The Olympic bronze medalist from Tokyo and London celebrated table tennis at the very highest level with 4:11, 11:6, 11:8, 7:11, 11:6 over world champion FAN Zhendong.

For the 11th player in the World rankings, it was the third win in his ninth duel with the number one in the world, but the first success over the Chinese in his home country. For Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, after months of patiently working towards an outstanding result, the victory was a source of satisfaction:

 "It was a very good game for me today. I have a very strong, dominant backhand and I think I managed to block it a few times but above all, I am happy that, after recovering from my injury, I was able to show that I am finally back among the best in the world."

In the semifinals on Saturday, OVTCHAROV meets Tomokazu HARIMOTO, who is in excellent shape and against whom the statistics show a 4:4 record. The last two duels, in 2021 in the semi-finals of the team competition at the Olympic Games and in the semi-finals of the WTT Star Contender in Doha in the same year, ended narrowly for the Japanese.

Before that, Timo BOLL was eliminated in the quarter-finals. With 11:8, 11:4, 12:10, Tomokazu HARIMOTO, like yesterday in his Round of 16 match against Patrick FRANZISKA, rarely gave Timo BOLL, who started in brilliant form, the chance to take the initiative and control the game. Japan's fifth in the world rankings, who defeated both world champion FAN Zhendong and Olympic champion MA Long in the team World Cup semi-final against China three weeks ago, often scored directly against the record European champion with his extremely aggressive return and the first ball after his serve or put Timo Boll at least immediately under immense pressure.

"He played very aggressively. He was particularly strong with the forehand, and he did what he wanted with my serve. His serves were also difficult for me as a left-hander see. He's already very strong in form," said BOLL.

World No.3 Truls MOREGARD lost in the quarterfinals against China's WANG Chuqin (8:11, 3:11, 13:15). He had a chance in the game three by winning six of the first eight points, but before long finds himself up against the ropes. The World No.3 saves three match points, and has two game points of his own, but the day would belong to WANG Chuqin.