|Jun Mizutani wins 2 for Japan to progress to WTTC Semifinals|
Image courtesy of ITTF
Mizutani was first to play. Singapore played their third player Pang Xue Jie in first, a strategy which had worked in their favour against Belarus. Mizutani wasted no time in disposing of his opposition in 3 sets. Japan taking an early 1-0 lead. The next matchup was an interesting one. World Rankings were incredibly tight, only one difference in fact. WR 20 Koki Niwa would come up against WR 21 Gao Ning. The result was nothing close to being tight, Koki Niwa destroying the Singapore player 3-0. Japan leading 2-0 and looking to claim a 3 match win over Singapore.
Yang Zi brought the fight back for Singapore. Another close WR match with Yang Zi at 46 and Kenji Matsudaira at WR 48. Yang Zi led in most of the sets, but Koki Niwa always clawed his way back to make each one close. The end result being, Yang Zi holding on for the crucial points to claim a 4 set win and take the first point for Singapore. The next match was crucial, Japan needing it to advance and Singapore needing it to force a deciding match. Gao Ning would face world number 6 Jun Mizutani.
The match turned out to be a bit of an epic finale with Mizutani taking the first 2 sets and Gao Ning stealing back the 3rd and 4th to go to the 5th set. There was no room for a straw of hay in the 5th set, with both players winning off their serves and losing off the opposing serve. The score was locked all the way to the end. Gao Ning did superbly to save 3 match points but Mizutani rewarded the supportive Japanese bench by claiming the match and the win 3-1.
Germany will play Sweden in a few hours and the semifinal for the bottom half of the draw will be decided.