The 2017 German Open was enjoyed by the home crowd as their nation’s table-tennis heroes, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll, appeared in their second consecutive major international final after the World Cup in Belgium. Ovtcharov had been something like 0-20 against World #1 Ma Long and World #2 Fan Zhendong combined and finally broke through. He defeated Fan Zhendong 15-13 in the deciding and thrilling seventh game in the semis to bring the home crowd to its feet! Ma Long did not play this tournament but was defeated by Timo Boll in the World Cup. Boll defeated Chinese youngster Lin Gaoyuan at the World Cup and German Open quarterfinals. Olympic and World Champ Zhang Jike, China’s most popular athlete in 2016, gave a lackluster performance and was defeated easily in the first round by Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia. Lee Sang Soo of Korea knocked out Xu Xin of China 4-0 and Ovtcharov also had a 4-0 win against Yan An of China in the second round. In the final, Ovtcharov defeated Timo Boll again 4-3. One interesting thing is that Timo Boll pulled out a backhand serve after being down which I have never seen him do. This is one thing I have also done at critical moments. Could the Chinese men’s team be unhappy and no longer mentally as tough after Liu Guoliang was no longer head coach? The entire story has not and likely will not come out about the top Chinese players withdrawals from the China Open earlier this year.
The Chinese women still seem dominant, however. It was an all-Chinese women’s singles final with Chen Meng defeating World Cup winner Zhu Yuling in the final 4-3 after being down 3-1. Three of the four semifinalists and six of the eight quarterfinalists in women’s singles were Chinese.
Highlights of Ovtcharov’s epic semifinal win over China’s World #2 Fan Zhendong: