OVTCHAROV and CHUANG Enter into the Semies

London – GBR, July 31, 2012: Chuang, Top seed DING Ning (CHN) will play LI Xiaoxia (CHN) in the final of the women’s singles, after both players breezed through their semifinals in the afternoon session at Excel on Tuesday. A chinese player will succeed Zhang Yining to become the title holder : she was crowned in Beijing 2008. World No.1 DING showed her mental and technical qualities in defeating Singapore’s top player FENG Tianwei 4-2.

FENG was the first player to trouble DING, taking two games off the world No.1, but DING’s foot speed and calmness under pressure saw her home 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6.

Fatigue might have been an issue. DING’s string of 4-0 and 4-1 wins, in contrast to FENG’s longer matches, meant that FENG had been on court 52 minutes longer than DING prior to the semifinal match. No.2 seed LI eliminated Japan’s remaining representative, Kasumi ISHIKAWA, 4-1 (11-5, 11-4, 11-13, 11-6, 11-7).

The match was often played close to the table with rallies consisting of a series of blocks and counterblocks. LI’s defter touch and ability to turn attack into defence were decisive. The gold medal match will take place on Wednesday. ISHIKAWA and FENG will play for the bronze medal.

Earlier in the women’s singles quarterfinal matches, DING beat Ai FUKUHARA 4-0, FENG beat Korea’s defensive chopper KIM Kyungah 4-2, ISHIKAWA stormed past WANG Yuegu (SIN) 4-1, and LI beat Netherlands’ penholder LI Jiao 4-0.

SHI Zhihao (CHN) coach: On how he will prepare his players, LI and NING, to meet in the final: “They have to prepare for themselves. Because I’m the main coach I have to be fair. It’s great because the gold medal already belongs to us. I won’t speak to them about tactics. Tactics are not important, because they know each other’s game so well.”

Dimitrij Ovtcharov progresses to Semi-finals : european medal chance for singles.

The first two matches in the men’s singles quarterfinals were played on Tuesday. Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER) beat Michael MAZE (DEN) in a seven-game epic (11-8, 12-10, 1-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9). MAZE showed flashes of his incredible handspeed and ability to take the ball early off the table, but struggled to read OVTCHAROV’s serve.

OVTCHAROV established a 2-0 lead and MAZE looked to be going out before the Dane turned the game around to lead 3-2, but OVTCHAROV’s greater control and consistent serving were decivise. Maze lead 5-2 in the 7th game but OVTCHAROV didn’t give up to clinch the win with the closest margin: 11-9.

OVTCHAROV will face either world No.1 ZHANG Jike (CHN) or 11th seed JIANG Tianyi (HKG) in the semifinal on Thursday morning. ZHANG and JIANG meet in their quarterfinal on Wednesday.

In the other quarterfinal, CHUANG Chih-Yuan (TPE) easily disposed of Adrian CRISAN (ROU) in straight sets (11-3, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5). CRISAN’s footwork was sluggish and CHUANG was able to repeatedly power unreturnable forehands into the Romanian’s body throughout a brief 20 minutes match. CHUANG will now face Seiya KISHIKAWA (JPN) or WANG Hao (CHN) in the semifinal.

The men’s singles quarterfinals continue on Wednesday, when the men’s semifinals and women’s singles medal matches will also take place.

CHUANG Chih Yuan (TPE): On playing his friend Adrian CRISAN for a place in an Olympic semifinal: “He is my best friend. We are really good friends so it was hard to beat him. I was sorry when I played him. Like being in a war and having to kill your brother.”

Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER): On playing his friend MAZE in an Olympic quarterfinal: “We first played together when I was 15 years old and I lost 2-3 (21 points&) and we played together in the Russian league. Last year we were on holiday together in Turkey so it’s a strange feeling. But when it came to the game we gave everything and it was a fair game.” —- ITTF

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