SEAMASTER 2019 ITTF WORLD TOUR PLATINUM CHINA OPEN
Thursday 30th May
Top names progress but Yu Ziyang steals show
Defending champions, the host nation’s Ma Long and Wang Wanyu both made successful starts on Thursday 30th May in their quests to retain the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum China Open in Shenzhen.
Ma Long, the no.11 seed, beat Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa (11-6, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5), Wang Manyu, the no.4 seed, accounted for Russia’s Polina Mikhailova (11-9, 11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7).
Likewise, in the men’s singles event, China’s Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin and Lin Gaoyuan, the top three respective seeds, all made successful starts as did Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.4 seed. Fan Zhendong beat India’s ever improving Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7), Xu Xin accounted for Frenchman, Emmanuel Lebesson (11-8, 11-5, 13-11, 11-4). Similarly, Lin Gaoyuan prevailed against Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura (11-9, 11-6, 11-3, 8-11, 11-3); Tomokazu Harimoto ended the hopes of Korea Republic’s Cho Seungmin (11-3, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-2).
Fine performances but the star of the show for the host nation was Yu Ziyang, crowned world junior champion in 2014 in Shanghai; he recorded an opening round win in opposition to Sweden’s Mattias Falck, the runner up at the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships (11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6).
Similarly, in the opening round of the women’s singles event, the leading names prevailed, in addition to Wang Manyu, Chinese colleagues Ding Ning, Zhu Yuling, Chen Meng and Liu Shiwen all negotiated the first round.
Ding Ning beat Japan’s Miyuu Kihara (11-8, 11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 16-14), Zhu Yuling ousted Minami Ando, also from Japan (12-10, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-7). Similarly, Chen Meng overcame compatriot Sun Yingsha (7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3), Liu Shiwen ended the hopes of colleague Gu Yuting (7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6, 11-4).
Success as expected but there were to notable upsets, Japan’s Hitomi Sato, the no.12 seed, lost to Austria’s Sofia Polcanova (11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8),Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.11 seed, experienced defeat when facing Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu (5-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8).
Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles opening round, Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson and Jon Persson caused a major upset; they beat China’s Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.7 seeds and bronze medallists at the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships (12-10, 11-7, 11-13, 11-5). Similarly, Germany’s Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska upset the seeding; they overcame Chinese Taipei’s Lia Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju, the no.2 seeds (10-12, 8-11, 11-3, 11-1, 11-6).
Rather differently, top seeds Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu opened their account in style; they beat Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro, bronze medallists at the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships (11-8, 11-3, 11-2).
In a similar manner in the first round of the women’s doubles event the host nation’s Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling, the top seeds, imposed their authority in the opening round. They ended the hopes of Austria’s Karoline Mischek and Amelie Solja (13-11, 11-6, 11-6).
However, there were surprises. Japanese teenagers Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki caused a major opening round upset; the beat the no.2 seeds, the combination of Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova (12-10, 11-8, 12-10). Likewise, colleagues Honami Nakamori and Satsuki Odo; they overcame Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Ng Wing Nam, the no.3 seeds, in the closest match of the whole tournament to date (10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 17-15).
Success for Japan, in the mixed doubles it was similar. Japan’s Koki Niwa and Mima Ito upset the seeding in the opening round. They beat Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova (11-6, 7-11, 13-11, 13-11). Also DPR Korea’s Ham Yu Song and Cha Hyo Sim caused a major upset; they accounted for Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching, the no.3 seeds (10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 11-1).
Upsets not for the top seeds Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem; in the opening they ended the hoped of Laurens Tromer and Britt Eerland of the Netherlands (11-9, 11-5, 11-7).
Play continues on Friday 31st May, the day on which the men’s singles and women’s singles quarter-finalists, alongside the finalists in the men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles events will be decided.
By Ian Marshall, Editor
Photo Credit: ITTF