Paris – France, May 16, 2013: The upsets continued on a dramatic day four of the LIEBHERR 2013 World Table Tennis Championships in Paris, France.
Chinese legend MA Lin, who is the only player in history to have won Olympic gold in all 3 events: doubles (2004), singles and team (2008) was sensationally beaten by world no.58 Kenta MATSUDAIRA (JPN), in the 2nd round.
After beating MA Lin, who was playing his last ever World Championships, the 22 year old stated: “I’m so excited to have beaten Ma Lin. Yesterday I was very sad that Jun MITZUTANI lost, so it motivated me to win today, I wanted to win for Japan. Today was also revenge, for my defeat at the World Championships in Yokohama in 2009 (In 2009 MATSUDAIRA lost against MA Lin 11-9 in the 7th game in round 4).
MATSUDAIRA’s countrywomen and world no. 8 Kasumi ISHIKAWA was not so lucky, as she matched the fate of her teammate Ai Fukahara and crashed out of the Championships losing to Myong Sun RI (PRK) 12-10,11-8,11-9,11-5, which means there are no Japanese women in the last 32.
A success story of the ITTF Hopes Development Program, Egyptian Omar ASSAR played the match of his life to upset the 21st seed Adrian CRISAN 11-8,11-7,7-11,3-11,12-10,6-11,11-9 in one of the matches of the tournament.
An ecstatic ASSAR stated: “I know he’s a very good player but I try to think of him as a player not a name. I am very, very happy”.
As the fairytale continued for ASSAR, it came crashing down for Werner SCHLAGER (AUT) who won the World Championships exactly 10 years ago in this exact venue. The 40 year old was simply outplayed by Patrick BAUM (GER) 11-8,11-6,13-11,11-6.
After the defeat, SCHALAGER stated: “I am full of happiness when I enter this hall, I have very happy memories. This was the first time I have been beaten here is 10 years so it was a very nice feeling for me to come back. However I was just not good enough today, credit to Patrick, as he picked the right tactics and I had no reply.”
The man who won bronze behind SCHLAGER in 2003, Kalinikos KREANGA (GRE) had another famous win in the historic victory in the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy 9-11,11-6,9-11,6-11,11-8,14-12,11-7 against Minseok KIM (KOR).
French stars Adrienn MATTENET and Simon GAUZY battled hard in front of the large Parisian crowd, but it was not enough, as they exited their home World Championships in the 2nd round. All the local eyes will now be on Emmanuel LEBESSON as he is the sole French representative in the men’s and women’s singles draw in the round of 32.
There were also surprises in the mixed doubles as the Chinese pairs of QIU Yike/ WEN Jia and CHEN Qi/ HU Limei were both knocked out, which now opens up the draw for a potential non Chinese gold medalist.
Other notable results were: Men’s singles
XU Xin (CHN) beat Par GERELL (SWE) 11-5,11-3,11-7,11-7
ZHANG Jike (CHN) beat TSUBOI Gustavo (BRA) 11-9,13-15,11-6,11-5,11-7
Robert GARDOS (AUT) beat Jean-Michel SAIVE (BEL) 11-6,13-11,10-12,11-5,11-6
Koki NIWA (JPN) beat Mikhail PAYKOV (RUS) 8-11,11-6,11-7,7-11,9-11,12-10,11-9
DING Ning (CHN) beat HU Limei (CHN) 11-4,11-8,11-5,11-2
Jia LIU (AUT) beat YANG Haeun (KOR) 11-7,11-13,6-11,5-11,12-10,11-7,11-5
Yanfei SHEN (ESP) beat Daniella DODEAN (ROU) 11-9,6-11,11-2,11-8,8-11,11-9
SEO Hyowon (KOR) beat Jiao LI (NED) 11-8,11-8,6-11,8-11,11-8,11-6 —- ITTF/ Photo by Remy Gros