Dimitrij Ovtcharov became Germany’s first winner of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) China Open title in 11 years after beating the last and only other player to achieve the feat, Timo Boll, in the final in Chengdu.
The 28-year-old had to save four match points in the decider before sealing a 17-15, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 12-10 win over Boll, who beat China’s Wang Liqin to claim the 2006 crown, at the Sichuan Provincial Gymnasium,
“In the seventh game, I was leading 5-2 at the start, lost a few easy balls and my whole game broke apart,” Ovtcharov said.
“Timo took over and played really smart with placement. At 6-10, I didn’t believe I could win anymore, but after the relaxation of that feeling, I won six straight points to win this gold.
“I think luck was on my side today for this victory.”
The draw was blown open on Friday (June 23) after reigning Olympics and world champion Ma Long and fellow home favourites Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin were all eliminated from the event having mysteriously failed to arrive for their second-round matches.
Ma was due to play Japan’s Yuya Oshima, while Fan and Xu were scheduled to go up against Kim Dongyhun of South Korea and Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto respectively.
Their opponents were awarded walkover wins.