German Timo Boll on Saturday became the only non-Chinese paddler in the men's singles semifinals at the World Table Tennis Championships in Rotterdam.
The second-seeded Boll will face China's Zhang Jike while defending champion Wang Hao will meet his compatriot Ma Long on Sunday.
Boll said,"Tactically I played very well. I concentrated, felt fit. I received his serve very well today, made no easy mistakes. I am in very good form, playing a very good tournament."
The audience in the Ahoy arena was mostly behind Boll. "I am happy with the atmosphere and the support in the hall. Perhaps they pushed me a little and influenced him a bit. I think it is important for the spectators to not only have Chinese in the semifinals. That makes it more interesting. Tomorrow against Zhang Jike I will need all possible support from the audience. I think I have kind of a home advantage," said Boll.
In the quarterfinals, Wang Hao breezed past Jun Mizutani from Japan 11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6.
"He is a very young player and needs some time to grow up," Wang Hao said. "I have plenty of experience in such big events. I know how to control the match."
Mizutani was disappointed of being knocked out, but after all happy with his performances in Rotterdam. "I am satisfied with getting in the quarterfinals, but next time I must focus more against the Chinese players," he said. "With Chinese players it is a little bit difficult to return, especially the service of Wang Hao is difficult to return. That was crucial in the match, his service and my return."