Three Germans emerged to the main draw at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open last week in Bremen. Those three, Franziska, Ovtcharov and Boll have all had great successes in the past, but with the top four players in the world all Chinese, making a deep run in their home tournament would be a tall order.
Ovtcharov fell first, losing 4-3 in the Round of 32 to Yu Ziyang a 21-year-old Chinese player current ranked 115 in the World. Franzisca and Boll each advanced to the Quarterfinals. Franziska pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament with a win over World No.4 Lin Gaoyuan, but Franziska lost to Korea’s Youngsik Jeoung in the Quarters. Boll won tight matches over Zhou Qihao and Jun Mizutani in the early rounds before losing to World No. 2 Fan Zhendong in the Quarterfinals.
While most of the seeds faltered, the two top seeds, Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong cruised through to the Semifinals. Harimoto, the third seed, fell to Liang Jingkun in the Quarterfinals. Fifth seeded Hugo Calderano fell to Yan An in the Round of 16. In the end, the it was the World’s Top 2 players along with seventh seeded Liang Jingkun and unseeded Youngsik Jeoung in the Semifinals. Xu Xin advanced easily, winning 4-1 over Jeoung. Jingkun lead Zhendong through most of their match, but it was Fan Zhendong that emerged after winning the final two games.
In the Final, Xu Xin won the first game, but it was all Fan Zhendong after that. Zhendong ran off four wins in a row to win in convincing fashion. This is Fan Zhendong’s first tour win in 2019 and while he cannot retake the top position in the rankings, this will help keep the former No.1 from sliding further. Zhendong had been the only player in the Top 4 to not win a tour event this year, but perhaps this helps set him up for a strong finish to the year. Zhendong over Xin for the German Open title 4-1 ( -5, 8, 12, 7, 7).
The top two seeds both fell early in the Women’s Singles Event. World No. 1 Chen Meng was dominated by Singapore’s Feng Tianwei. That was a 4-0 win that wasn’t close – with Feng’s 11 points per game (44) compared to only 20 points scored by Chen Meng in the whole match. Feng faced a long match in the Quarterfinals, defeating Germany’s Shan Ziaona 4-3 after being down 0-3. Feng then fell to Japan’s Mima Ito in the Semifinals.
In the other half of the draw, World No. 2 Wang Manyu fell to Chinese teammate Wang Yidi in the Quarterfinals. Yidi then lost 4-0 to Sun Yingsha in the Semifinal. This setup a matchup of the 3rd and 4th seeds as Sun Yingsha and Ito Mima. This was Mima’s second consecutive final (after the Swedish Open last week), but the result was the same. Sun Yingsha over Ito Mima in a 4-1 match that lacked the fireworks of many of the earlier rounds.