(by Steve Hopkins, photo ITTFWorld)
The Knock-out Rounds of the Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup are underway. Thirteen of the 21 elite players who qualified played a group stage and the top 8 advanced to face the top 8 seeds. There were two upsets in the Round of 16, Woojin Jang and Youngsik Jeoung both toppled a higher seed to advance to the Quarterfinals. The Quarters all proceeded by seeding, with the higher ranked player advancing.
Unlike the early matches on Saturday – many of which were tight, the evening Quarterfinal matches proceeded very much as expected. Fan Zhendong split the first two games with Lin Yun-Ja, but then coasted to a 4-2 win. Both Korean players reached the Quarterfinals with upset wins, and with the luck of the draw they faced each other. It was Jang Woojin who came out on top 4-2. Woojin will face Fan Zhendong on Sunday afternoon in one Semifinal.
In the bottom half of the draw, Harimoto won the first three games and then split the final two for an easy 4-1 victory. Ma Long had a similarly easy time with Dimitrij Ovtcharov, winning three games and then splitting the final two for his own 4-1 win. Tomokazu Harimoto will face Ma Long in the other Semifinal on Sunday.
After all of the fireworks, three of the top four seeds are exactly where they were expected to be. The lone surprise is Jang Woojin who entered the tournament as the 12th seed and who has now won two matches over higher ranked players to get this far. The final matches will be played Sunday afternoon beginning at 1p local time (midnight Eastern).
ITTF TV is following the matches via livestream.
Check in at ButterflyOnline.com starting Thursday for updates on the progress of this event and other events.