The 2012 Japan Open Men Singles reached the semifinal stage today with the second match between the host Jun Mizutani, second seed, and Russian Alexander Shibaev, the 27th seed in the competition.
Despite being the 27th seed, Shibaev came to Kobe prepared for battle and has overcame some of the higher seeds in the competition like Koki Niwa and Joo Se Hyuk. As the dark horse of the competition, Alexnader Shibaev entered into the arena with a good start and nailed a commanding lead of 8-2. Meanwhile, Jun Mizutani was not giving up in the first set and successfully recovered and leveled in 9-9.
However, after the tie, Shibaev had the set point advantage. And through his powerful forehand topspins, Shibaev quickly got the opportunity to seal it with 11-9. After losing the opening set, Jun Mizutani found the right techniques against his opponent. Through quick attacks, Mizutani nailed the first six points. Shibaev tried to recover but came late as Mizutani leveled in 1-1 with 11-7.
In the third set, Jun Mizutani still had the control and the momentum and sealed a 2-1 lead with 11-4. At this point, the match was in favor of the host as Jun Mizutani posted a 3-1 lead with 11-7.
The Russian Alexander Shibaev was placed in great danger in the fifth set. Despite pressure, Shibaev presented himself very strong and posted an 8-2 lead. When Mizutani went close to 8-9, the Russian camp called for a timeout. After the game resumed, Mizutani leveled in 9-9. However, the timeout still served Shibaev as he was the one who sealed the set with a close 11-9.
After winning the previous game, Shibaev maintained the control and led in 9-4, placing Mizutani in a threatening position. Indeed, the host was not able to maintain his advantage and allowed the Russian to level in 3-3 with 11-5.
In the decider, Jun Mizutani somehow lost his confidence as Shibaev was in control over the table. However, just as Shibaev thought of having an easy ender, Mizutani caught up in 7-8, then overtook to match point in 10-8. Shibaev tried to recover but came late. Mizutani survived with an 11-9 and will advance into the finals.
Photo source: sohu.com