Chinese Gu/Mu to fight for title against Japanese pair at ITTF Czech Open

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The Chinese pair Gu Yuting/Mu Zi is now one step away from the top podium after defeating Chen Szu-Yu/Cheng Hsein-Tzu from Chinese Taipei 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 here on Friday in the women's doubles semifinal of ITTF World Tour Czech Open.

After ejecting top seed Miyuu Kihara/Miyu Nagasaki from Japan on Thursday, the Chinese duo knocked down Yu Mengyu/Lin Ye from Singapore in the quarterfinal, and then the Chinese Taipei pair in the semi to advance to the final.

As the last tournament champion of Bulgaria Open, Gu/Mu are now embracing the idea that they could take the whole thing. Their final opponent on Saturday is the third-seeded Hirano Miu/Shibata Saki from Japan.

"We're feeling more comfortable today. Our team chemistry is getting better and better and our partnership is improving. Today it was a clean win for us. We will prepare for the final tomorrow and we will try our best," said Gu.

It was a major shock for all fans in the crowd as Hirano Miu/Shibata Saki were pushed to the limit in a five-game crunch match-up with Poland's Natalia Bajor/Natalia Partyka.

The Polish duo showed immense resistance against the Japanese, matching them shot for shot in each game. During the decider, the Polish were up by 9-6 before Hirano/Shibata grounded out a very important win 9-11, 11-2, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9.

In the women's singles, Feng Yalan, He Zhuojia, Chen Xingtong and Liu Weishan outplayed their opponents to step forward to the quarters.

The Chinese pair Ma Te/Wu Yang, the conqueror of top seed Lee Sangsu/Jeon Jihee from South Korea on Thursday, lost out to another South Korean duo Cho Daeseong/Shin Yubin in a close encounter 4-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 in the mixed doubles.

The battle for the final spot in the men's singles quarterfinal raised some eyebrows. Alexander Shibaev from Russia took the win over China's Ma Te 11-5, 15-13, 12-10, 11-9. Ma kept it close, but Shibaev was always a step ahead.

The legendary German player Timo Boll returned to World Tour action with an emphatic win over Japanese Yukiya Uda in 11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7. The 38-year-old German was very efficient with his service. The four-game match spanned just under 30 minutes. 

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