Düsseldorf, June 2, 2017: 13-year-old Tomokazu HARIMOTO (JPN) has caused the biggest upset at the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships knocking Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Jun MIZUTANI (JPN) out of the event!
Making his World Championships debut in Düsseldorf, instead of attending school like a regular 13-year-old, HARIMOTO was determined to make his mark.
The young teenager was on fire against MIZUTANI, giving the world number six little chance to respond towards his furious attacks on the table, taking the match 4-1 (11-7, 11-6, 14-12, 7-11, 11-8).
“Age has nothing to do with table tennis,” shared HARIMOTO, who made history to become the youngest Junior World Champion in Cape Town last year. “I just wanted to play the game my way. I just wanted to attack and I did this right from the beginning. In the next match, I want to try to use the same tactics and play the same style as today.”
After HARIMOTO’s unbelievable upset, Romania’s Elizabeta SAMARA followed suit to join the list of giant slayers in Düssledorf. After losing the first two games to world number ten Hitomi SATO (JPN), SAMARA was quick to recover and turn the tides to her favor in the game. The world number 31 prevailed in the seven games thriller, winning narrowly by 4-3 (5-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8).
In the highly anticipated clash between crowd favorite Timo BOLL (GER) and reigning World Champion MA Long (CHN) against World number two & three, FAN Zhendong (CHN) & XU Xin (CHN), the near sellout crowd were treated to an action-packed world-class exhibition. The local fans were left disappointed in the end, as the Chinese duo FAN & XU won 4-1 (11-13, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8) to advance to the Men’s Doubles Quarterfinals.
Day Four also saw the confirmation of the Mixed Doubles semifinalists.
The Japanese duo will face mixed associations pair FANG Bo (CHN) & Petrissa SOLJA (GER) to battle for a place in the Mixed Doubles Final on 3 Jun. The last spot available for the Mixed Doubles Final will be contested between Hong Kong’s DOO Hoi Kem & WONG Chun Ting against Chinese Taipei’s CHEN Chien-An & CHENG I-Ching on the same day. —- ITTF