Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour, Hang Seng Hong Kong Open
Thursday 6th June
Top seeds negotiate first hurdle but surprises accrue
China’s Lin Gaoyuan and Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the respective top two seeds in the men’s singles event at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open, both negotiated the opening round of proceedings on Thursday 6th June but both had to recover from two games to nil deficits to ensure success.
Lin Gaoyuan beat Germany’s Ricardo Walther (8-11, 10-12, 11-2, 11-5, 11-6, 12-10), Tomokazu Harimoto accounted for Sweden’s Jon Persson (7-11, 4-11, 11-8, 12-10, 14-12, 11-8).
Success for Lin Gaoyuan and Tomokazu Harimoto; however, there were opening round casualties. Most notably Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu, the no.6 seed, was beaten by Frenchman, Simon Gauzy (11-5, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8), Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, the no.14 seed, departed at the hands of China’s Zhou Yu (5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5, 15-13). In addition, the host association’s Ho Kwan Kit, the no.16 seed, was beaten by Germany’s Benedikt Duda (11-5, 11-6, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6).
Likewise Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura, the defending champion, experienced defeat; he suffered at the hands of Sweden’s Mattias Falck (11-9, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7). Disappointment for Kazuhiro Yoshimura, for elder brother Maharu it was the opposite emotion. He caused a major opening round upset, most impressively he accounted for Germany’s Patrick Franziska, the no.12 seed (12-10, 11-9, 11-2, 11-2).
Similarly, in the women’s singles event, the top two names negotiated the opening hurdle. Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the top seed, beat Canada’s Zhang Mo (11-5, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10), colleague Mima Ito, the no.2 seed, accounted for Singapore’s Yu Mengyu (11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7).
However, there were opening round surprises, all involving China. Feng Yalan beat colleague Chen Xingtong, the no.10 seed (11-9, 13-11, 11-6, 16-14) and runner up one year ago; similarly Sun Mingyang ousted Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee, the no.11 seed (11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8). Following suit, Wang Yidi ended the hopes of Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching, the no.15 seed (11-5, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6).
Defeats for Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching mean that Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem remain the only Hong Kong representatives remaining in the respective men’s singles and women’s singles events. In the opening round Wong Chun Ting, the no.13 seed, won the match of the day by beating Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar (11-9, 11-2, 6-11, 4-11, 8-11, 14-12, 16-14); rather more comfortably, Doo Hoi Kem overcame Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte (12-10, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6).
Success apart, Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem, the defending champions, also enjoyed success together; in the opening round they beat Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata (12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2).
Likewise, partnering Ho Kwan Kit, there was for Wong Chun Ting first round men’s doubles success; the duo making a positive start in their title defence; they beat Frenchmen Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson (11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3). Success for Wong Chun Ting and Ho Kwan Kit, there was also success for Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching; they accounted for India’s Manika Batra and Archana Girish Kamath (11-6, 12-10, 11-7).
Success as anticipated for Hong Kong, in all three doubles events they commenced play the top seeds.
However, there were upsets. In the men’s doubles India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sharath Kamal Achanta beat the combination of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles, the no.4 seeds and runners up at the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships (12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7). In the women’s doubles Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut and Orawan Paranang overcame the no.3 seeds, the partnership formed by Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova (11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8).
Meanwhile, in the mixed doubles China’s Ma Te and Wu Yang accounted for Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova, the no.2 seeds (11-8, 11-8, 11-8).
Play continues on Friday 7th June; at the close of the day, the men’s singles and women’s singles quarter-finalists will be known, the men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles finalists will be decided.
By Ian Marshall, Editor
Photo Credit: ITTF