Michael Maze hit top form to beat Jun Mizutani
Photo By: An Sung Ho
2012 Olympic Games
Shock followed shock in the fourth round of the Men’s Singles event on the evening of Monday 30th July, the third day of play, at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Japan’s Jun Mizutani, Germany’s Timo Boll and Korea’s Oh Sangeun; all players tipped as medal contenders, suffered surprise defeats against lower ranked adversaries.
Seeded no.3, Jun Mizutani was the first to depart; he was overwhelmed by an in-form Dane in the guise of Michael Maze, the no.13 seed.
Next to fall was Oh Sangeun, the no.7 seed, beaten by Seiya Kishikawa, the no.12 seed, as Japanese pride was restored;
Timo Boll Beaten
Farewell to two highly seeded players; then, as matters concluded, Timo Boll, the no.4 seed, departed.
He was beaten by Romania’s Adrian Crisan, the 15 seed.
Tipped by Don Parker
Prior to the matches commencing, Don Parker, the former England National Coach and often the itTV commentator for the GAC GROUP 2012 World Tour, had been interviewed in the arena by the host presenter.
Understandably, Don Parker tipped the Chinese duo of Wang Hao and Zhang Jike as major medal winners but to the delight of a small group of Danish supporters, he named Michael Maze as a player who could clinch a podium finish.
Whether or not Michael Maze heard the words of the Englishman I’m not sure but most certainly he endorsed the suggestion that a medal is within his capabilities.
He beat Jun Mizutani in four straight games (11-7, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6).
Japanese Pride Restored
Jun Mizutani was never at his best but he was never allowed to be at his best; Michael Maze was outstanding as, soon after, was Seiya Kishikawa against Oh Sangeun.
Strong from the backhand and with arguably more than his fair share of good fortune; Seiya Kishikawa won the first two games with the Korean never able to find his fluent rhythym.
Never in Top Gear
We waited for Oh Sangeun to step up a gear; in the third game he never moved out of second but in the fourth he pressed the accelerator.
A recovery was surely on the cards, it was not to be; the sense of urgency came from Seiya Kishikawa; a five games win was posted (11-8, 11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8).
Two surprises and then the biggest of all; Timo Boll was beaten in five games by Adrian Crisan (11-9, 8-11, 15-13, 12-10, 11-6).
Adrian Crisan has a very good record against Timo Boll and when the Romanian’s backhand is flowing, for a left hander like Timo Boll, he is a difficult proposition.
The backhand was flowing and there was a sense of belief in the mind of Adrian Crisan; Timo Boll, the man seen as the major challenger to Zhang Jike and Wang Hao, was out of the Men’s Singles event.
Timo Boll, Jun Mizutani and Timo Boll all faced crisis situations, all succumbed; one further player faced crisis and recovered.
Zhang Jike, the top seed, trailed Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus by three games to two before recovering to post a seven games when (4-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7).
Once again, Zhang Jike had proved his mental toughness; when a crisis looms he responds, he revels in the battle and once again the hoodoo haunted the man from Belarus.
Vladimir Samsonov has now played in five consecutive Olympic Games; on every occasion when departing the Men’s Singles event it has been in full distance contests.
In 1996 in Atlanta he was beaten in five games by China’s Wang Hao, four years later in Sydney by Sweden’s Jan-Ove Waldner, matches in those days being best of five games, each game to 21 points,
At the Athens Olympic Games, when the present day scoring system was in use, he lost to Hong Kong’s Leung Chu Yan in seven games; then in Beijing in 2008 to Sweden’s Jörgen Persson.
Closest of All
A close call for Zhang Jike but the closest call of all was for Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi, the no.11 seed; he beat DPR Korea’s Kim Hyok Bong, the 32 seed, by the very narrowest of margins.
He won in seven games (14-12, 6-11, 11-13, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 15-13). It could hardly have been closer.
Meanwhile, in the remaining matches; life was less fraught for the victors with proceedings following status.
Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.8 seed, beat Austria’s Chen Weixing, the no.18 seed (11-8, 16-14, 11-8, 11-5); Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.15 seed, ended the hopes of Croatia’s Andrej Gacina, the no.27 seed (11-9, 11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 3-11, 11-5); whilst Wang Hao, the no.2 seed, completed a successful day for China.
He defeated Singapore’s Gao Ning, the no.10 seed, in six games (11-9, 11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 3-11, 11-5).
Shocks abounded but one salutary note; no shocks where China was concerned, ominous signs.