“When I went ‘half-assed,’ I was able to do things that didn’t work.”
Zhang Wujin (28-World No. 13) survived a cliffhanger.
Zhang came from behind to defeat Tomokazu Harimoto (20-4) of Japan 4-3 (8-11 10-12 8-11 11-9 19-17 11-4 11-8) in their men’s singles quarterfinal match at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games on Tuesday at the Archer Canal Sports Park Gymnasium in Hangzhou, China.
There will be no bronze medal match at this event. In the semifinals, Woojin Jang secured the bronze medal.
Unable to deal with Harimoto’s quick attacks from the start of the match, Jang struggled, dropping three sets in a row. With the deficit deepening, Jang broke through to take the fourth set.
The fifth set followed. Woojin Jang fought back and forth to win the deuce. The match was briefly halted when Harimoto suddenly suffered a leg injury and called for a medical timeout at 15-15, but Jang kept up his hard-earned pace.
After fighting back to take the fifth set at 19-17, Jang won the sixth and seventh sets in straight sets to complete the upset drama.
Speaking after the match, Jang Woo-jin said, “I went in with the idea of clearing my mind, but I couldn’t win the early games, so I was dragged down a lot. Coach Joo Se-hyuk said, ‘Let’s just win one set,’ so I think I got lucky by focusing on the process of one set rather than the win, loss, or result,” he said.
It was an upset victory. “I didn’t give up completely, but I cleared my mind and played against a ‘half-quit’ opponent, and I think I gained a lot of confidence,” Jang laughed.
He didn’t mind that the match was interrupted by his opponent’s medical time at the end of the fifth set, when things were heating up.
“If (the set score) was 2-3, I would have thought a lot about it, but since it was 1-3, I didn’t think much about it. “Actually, in the seventh set, my heart suddenly started pounding in my chest. I wanted to win, and he couldn’t move,” he shrugged.
“Coach Joo kept saying, ‘You have to focus. If I fought there, I thought I would get excited and lose it, so I didn’t fight and kept calm,” he recalled.
Despite the limp, Harimoto never gave up on the match. Even in the early stages of the seventh set, he showed his desire to win.
“I actually thought he would give up in the 먹튀검증 sixth set. I was grateful that Harimoto played until the end. He is a top-class player in terms of skill, but I thought he was also a top-class player in terms of respect (for his opponent).”
Zhang’s quarterfinal opponent is world No. 1 PAN Zhendong (China).
“I haven’t won a match against Fan Zhendong yet,” Zhang said. “When I play Chinese players, I always say to myself, ‘Let’s take the first set,’ and that gives me confidence. That’s what I’m going to try to do in the first set. I’m going to try to relax and take it easy.”