Reign Ends Jun Mizutani Falls in Opening Round
2015 ITTF Grand Finals
December 10-13, 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal
Courtesy of ITTF
Live Stream (Table 1 & 2) | Player’s List | Live Scoring | Match Results: Dec 10th, Dec 11th, Dec 12th
Crowned champion one year ago in Bangkok and five years ago in Seoul, Jun Miztuani suffered a first round exit in the Men’s Singles event at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Lisbon, Portugal on the evening of Friday December 11th.
The no.11 seed, he was beaten in seven games by Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.6 seed (11-7, 11-6, 14-16, 11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-7), the player he had defeated in Thailand’s capital city some 12 months ago to capture the coveted title.
Chances for Three-Nil Lead
“I really think that today I was the better player; Jun was not in his best shape today”, said Dimitrij Ovtcharov. “I won the first two games and had game point several times to go three-nil ahead.”
It was to be a two-one advantage but in the fifth game it appeared the contest was coming to a close, at 10-9 Dimitrij Ovtcharov held match point.
“I should have won the match there and then; Jun came back, he won the sixth and the seventh game was open”, added Dimitrij Ovtharov. “Either of us could win in such a situation.”
The verdict went to Dimitrij Ovtcharov who did express some concerns about the court surrounds.
“There is an element of luck, the bounce of the ball is not always predictable”, explained Dimitrij Ovtcharov. “When the ball hits the LED surrounds it sometimes get scratched or has blue marks, the ball hits one of those marks on the table, it can bounce higher.”
Further Japanese Disappointment
Defeat for Japan and there was further disappointment for the Land of the Rising Sun; Koki Niwa, the no.13 seed, was beaten by Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.5 seed (11-9, 11-3, 6-11,11-7, 11-8).
Once again it was the exquisite skills of Vladimir Samsonov that prevailed against Koki Niwa; arguably prevailing by following a tactic that only the very few could pursue with success.
Returned Wide to Forehand
Often he returned the service wide to the forehand of the left handed Koki Niwa, allowing him to play a forehand top spin before using his powers of control to win the point.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever played him; I returned the ball to his forehand because I thought he would not expect that to happen”, explained Vladimir Samsonov. “He’s very fast in every aspect of the game but always he seems to be looking to play his first attack from the backhand side; that’s either with his forehand or backhand.”
The tactic worked and to the delight of the crowd it was success for Vladimir Samsonov.
“He serves well, it’s difficult to read his serves but equally he had problems at the beginning of the match with my serves”, concluded Vladimir Samsonov. “He made several errors.”
Emphatic Wins for China
Two defeats for Japan, to bring the second day of play to a conclusion it was two emphatic wins for China.
Xu Xin, the no.2 seed, the forehand firing on all cylinders, proved too strong for Korea’s Jang Woojin, the no.16 seed (11-6, 11-0, 11-9, 11-7); while despite a brave effort from the host nation’s Marcos Freitas, the no.10 seed, with crowd in full voice, it was defeat.
Again power prevailed, Ma Long, the top seed, recorded a five games success to bring the day to a close (11-7, 11-3, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8).
“I think we both played well tonight, we were both focused and the match was tense; it was different to the match we played at the Men’s World Cup where he I won four-nil, he was full of fighting spirit and motivated”, said Ma Long. “Probably because he was playing at home and he had the home crowd cheering for him.”
In Halmstad at the Liebherr Men’s World Cup, at the quarterfinal stage, Ma Long had won in four straight games (12-10, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6).
“When he was losing three-nil he was still all pumped up”, added Ma Long. “Even in the fifth game, he had a good chance of winning.”
At the quarterfinal stage, in the top half of the draw, Ma Long meets Dimitrij Ovtcharov, in the lower half, Xu Xin confronts Vladimir Samsonov.
The quarterfinal matches will be played on Saturday December 12th.
- Men’s Singles – Athlete Profiles
- Women’s Singles – Athlete Profiles
- Men’s Doubles
- Women’s Doubles
- U-21 Singles
- Men’s Singles Final: OSHIMA Yuya (JPN) def. ZHAI Yujia (DEN) 4-1 (11-5, 11-4, 9-11, 11-3, 11-8)
- Women’s Singles Final: LIN Ye (SIN) def. HAMAMOTO Yui (JPN) 4-2 (12-10, 8-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8)
Visit ITTF World Tour Grand Finals tournament page for more information.