DUSSELDORF, GERMANY – Koki Niwa fended off Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov 4-3 to advance to the men’s singles quarterfinals at the world championships on Sunday.
Niwa, ranked 11th in the world, defeated No. 5 Ovtcharov 11-13, 11-9, 11-13, 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9 and was set to face second-ranked Fan Zhendong of China in their quarterfinal later in the day.
In another quarterfinal, Japanese 13-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto will take on China’s world No. 3, Xu Xin.
Prior to those matches, the men’s doubles final will see the top seed, Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima of Japan, take on the 17th-seeded pair, Fan and Xu.
Morizono and Oshima will be looking for redemption. At the last worlds two years ago, the Japanese duo was one point away from advancing to the semifinals, but lost to Fan and Zhang Jike.
“We earned a debit at the worlds that we can only recover at the worlds,” Morizono said.
Morizono and Oshima’s 4-2 victory in Saturday’s semifinals over South Korea’s Jeoung Young-sik and Lee Sang-su saw them become the first Japanese pair to reach the final in 48 years.
Fan and Xu, however, dashed hopes of an all-Japanese final by winning their semifinal over Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura 4-0.