Dimitrij Ovtcharov ended the fourth day in triumph
Photo By: An Sung Ho
2012 Olympic Games (Click here to access this section)
Totally entranced, a full house of 5,000 spectators sat encapsulated on the evening of Tuesday 31st July in the ExCeL Arena as Dimitrij Ovtcharov prepared to serve.
You could have heard a pin drop.
Tension followed by pandemonium ensued as the 24 year old German secured the vital point that reserved a semi-final place in the Menís Singles event at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In a quarter-final contest that captivated everyone in the venue, from spectators to coaches, administrators to officials, volunteers to paid professional staff; the contest swayed one way then the other.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov made the better start; he won the first two games with Michael Maze incurring the wrath of the umpire.
He was faulted on his service; annoyed and frustrated he released a fearsome backhand directing the ball viciously towards the court surrounds. He received the yellow card for his misdemeanor.
Thankfully there were no further incidents; the 23 year old Dane behaved impeccably and when suffering the agony of defeat by the very narrowest of margins in the deciding seventh game, he walked purposely to shake hands with his conqueror, clearly congratulating Dimitrij Ovtcharov on his efforts.
All Guns Blazing
Two games to nil in arrears it appeared that Michael Maze was on the slippery slope to defeat; mentally he had been affected by the fault service.
In the third game he came out all guns blazing; he afforded a stunned Dimitrij Ovtcharov just one point to start his comeback.
Spellbinding play, crowd pleasing and enlightening he won the next two games to established a three games to two lead.
Now Dimitrij Ovtcharov was on the ropes; now it was his turn to recover, he fought, he recovered, he won the sixth game but in the seventh he trailed 6-8.
The Danish supporters club was ready to celebrate a Viking victory; Dimitrij Ovtcharov had other ideas.
He won the next three points, Michael Maze leveled before the German seized the final two points to secure victory.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov pulled his shirt over his head to cover his eyes before returning to shake hands with Michael Maze and salute his Hanseatic League supporters.
The day had ended in dramatic circumstances; quite the opposite of the first match of the evening where Chinese Taipeiís Chuang Chih-Yuan had overwhelmed Romaniaís Adrian Crisan.
In a duel where Chuang Chih-Yuan was simply too fast in every department of the games, a straight games victory (11-3, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5) was posted; quite the contrary of the battle royal which finished in favour of Dimitrij Ovtcharov against Michael Maze (11-8, 12-10, 1-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9).
Two more quarter-final duels remain; both involving the two top seeded Chinese stars.
Zhang Jike confronts Hong Kongís Jiang Tianyi, the winner meeting Dimitrij Ovtcharov; Wang Hao faces Japanís Seiya Kishikawa, the victor opposes Chuang Chih-Yuan.
More to Follow
Scintillating table tennis on the third day of action; the fourth day promises more of the same.